Each leaf falls from its tree as an individual.
It’s a personal decision by the leaf to drop from its mother tree and go its own way into the breeze.
Of course, when the leaf is no longer getting food from the tree, when the sap has begun to retreat in the branches down to the trunk for protection from the approaching winter, it gets the sign that it’s time to move on.
Do leaves really WANT to drop from the tree or are they forced by the changes in their lives? Do they worry about the drop? Will they be smashed by a passing car or blown into some unfamiliar backyard?
Will they end up in a big pile with all their brothers and sisters and get swept away, unceremoniously by a garbage truck… or will some little kid and her dog jump into the pile and fling them around while laughing like crazy?
Maybe the leaf doesn’t care what happens after the fall.
Perhaps it’s happy to be free of its tree and off on its own.
But, a falling leaf means its days are numbered. It has turned a different color because of the chemical changes in its veins and may be happy to wear something new.
The next spring more leaves will bud on the branches and grow to a beautiful green or deep red (depending on the species). They will do their job of collecting energy from the sun and keeping the tree alive.
Then, in autumn they will turn gold or yellow or orange or red and pop off their branch.
One at a time, waving goodbye to the tree as they fall.