It feels like fall at Mucky Boots. There's still a full week of August left and it continues to be hot and dry, but there's something different about the sun light - the angle? the intensity? - that speaks of autumn. I need a fleece when I go out to the verandah with my early morning coffee now, and dusk is signalling bedtime for the chickies earlier than it used to. But the biggest sign is the irresistible urge I have to buy new school supplies. I'm about to turn 48, and this is only the third time since I was 5 that I haven't returned to school in September, either as a student or a teacher. That kind of ingrained patterning is hard to change - and why would I want to? Why give up the hopeful imagining that comes with embarking on a new year, the feeling that anything is possible provided I have enough sharp new pencils and different colours of sticky notes?