Like Mitt Romney, I like Big Bird.

That’s not to say that I like watching “Sesame Street.” Actually, I find watching “Sesame Street” to be an infernal activity; time is a scarce resource, and time spent in my adult life without investment or pleasure is time poorly spent. Nevertheless, “Sesame Street” educates, engrosses and pacifies young children, as it once did for me, and if I could choose between a world with and a world without “Sesame Street,” I’d choose “with.”

Slowly, but as surely as ever, the outdoors fade from glorious summer to tired winter. Sleeves that only just covered the shoulders begin to cover elbows, and soon will cover wrists. The occasional evergreen stands in ever-increasing contrast to its surroundings. But instead of monotonic thermal decline, the natural world offers one last burst of vibrancy, a burst that makes autumn the loveliest time of year to live in the Pioneer Valley.

As the temperature drops here at Amherst, many more of us become accustomed to just rolling out of bed in the morning, throwing on a sweater and jeans and running to class. It’s convenient, quick and comfortable in the freezing weather. Not to mention it’s hard to feel good about yourself with a runny nose, dry skin and bags under your eyes. While waking up (and getting enough sleep) is going to remain as hard as ever in the stretch before another break begins, there are remedies for the parched, cracking skin some of us face when winter approaches.