Our Friday night choice was either taking in a movie or taking a hike — and after a long, emotional week, hiking our nearby ridge was just what the doctor ordered. The trail was steep and the skies were clear (even if the sunset was not as glorious as I’d hoped for). Autumn has made its way to the hills and the bright reds of poison oak shrubs are deceptively beautiful and warm. I think the real beauties, though, are the thistles that grow wildly. There’s a poem about old women and thistles and gossip, I think, but for the life of me I cannot remember it or the poet. Google searches aren’t helping. I think I have a copy of it in my classroom; when I find it, I’ll share.