Fall exploding with fiery flame

I love fall. It?s ranked in my top-five favorite seasons, right up there with wintertime, springtime, summertime and suppertime.
With fall comes the beginning of a lot of great things: crackling fires, hooded sweatshirts and the pumpkin spice latte, the viral disease of the yuppy beverage world.
Fall also means the trees are exploding with fiery reds, oranges and yellows.
?Exploding?is the correct verb. I looked it up in the ?Encyclopedia of Flora Descriptors,? which says that, when discussing leaves changing colors in autumn, you are required by law?zero tolerance?to use the word ?exploding.? The word ?fiery? is also strongly recommended.
As a new homeowner, I was greatly looking forward to my yard playing part to the neighborhood?s explosion of fiery colors. There could be no greater satisfaction, I felt, than that of a homeowner with a yard of fiery explosions exploding in a fiery fire of exploded fiery colors.
And so, with great anticipation, I kept my eyes to my trees as the temperature began to drop. Then one day it happened.
Except it didn?t happen with an explosion. It happened more with the sound you get stepping on a raisin.
No, my trees apparently do not produce fiery reds, oranges or yellows. Instead, the leaves change to a hue so lame that it has absolutely no physical description. The color is best described as the feeling you get stuck in traffic and the taste of rice cakes.
I proceeded to ignore the leaves as long as I could, until last week when I decided it was time to finally pick them up off my yard.
My original plan was to simply let them blow into the neighbor?s yard. This is a long-standing homeowner?s tradition that dates back to the 1880s when the first pioneers were homesteading on the prairie.
Of course, back then there were no trees on the prairie, so this practice was really quite efficient.
It was a simpler time back then. In arithmetic, for example, if you added astra to aspera you got the sum of a complete state motto. (Though it has nothing to do with this column I thought I?d throw that in there. I think I?ll throw it right back out.)
Since my leaves fell straight down, one chilly morning last week I donned a long-sleeve gray shirt with a giant ?T? on the front that was part of my sophomore-year high school musical costume and went outside to get rid of the leaves.
My first thought was to simply mow them up. The leaf layer, however, was thicker than I expected, and trying to push the mower through ended with pretty much the same result as when I tried to drive my old Camaro, Max, through a snowdrift. And so, with proverbial tail between my legs, I pulled out the rake and, whimpering, began to make piles and bag the leaves in whatever containers I could find.
Taking the leaves to the compost site north of town proved to be more humiliating. It was filled with burly homeowners in work coveralls and boots shoveling mounds of leaves out of their gray two-ton heavy-duty pickup truck beds.
And then there was me, decked out in a theater costume pulling Ziplock baggies of leaves out of the trunk of my cherry-red sedan named Donte whose horn goes?read this with a weak, nasally sigh??meep.? I finally found the long-awaited explosion of fiery red I?d been waiting for all season. Unfortunately, it was burnt across my cheeks.
I love fall.