The wind, knowing it’s for the best, circles the tree’s branches, shaking and prodding the leaves to let go and coast to the ground.
The leaves, no longer green, attempt to remain latched on. Slowly, like a six-year-old standing for eternal minutes on the edge of a diving board before nervously acquiescing to leap, they each let go.
Around the base of the tree, like a Christmas tree skirt, piles of leaves huddle together, hesitating to venture far from their roots, clinging to each other until the same wind that loosened them from their midair outposts begins to scatter some of them abroad, reluctant refugees into the neighbors’ yards.
The tree sighs at its loss, the wind whistles as it works, and the leaves wonder what will become of them now.
Slowly the leaves disintegrate, sifting back down into the earth…the earth, which confidently cradles the tree in place and watches it stretch its branches into the grey, November sky…the earth, which knows the secret of the seasons and begins its winter dreams.