Every year around the middle of May I start to work the soil in my raised garden. I work it up until its soft and remove any acorns or walnuts that the squirrels have buried there and forgot because they couldn't get to them because of the snow. Next I work in organic fertilizer and do any repairs to the gardens raised wooden forms. Because the winter weather is so unpredictable I usually don't do any planting until the end of June unless I plant early June peas.
Why am I telling you this? Because the leaves that you see in the picture above are just like seeds I plant in my garden. How so? Read on. When the leaves have reached their full color they fall and surround the tree they came from. Then they dry up, evenually turning into to a deep rich mulch that mixes in with the soil around the tree feeding the tree with the nutrients it needs. In order to be useful they have to literally die to themselves and become part of the earth. Now, about the seeds the tree produces. Lets use an oak tree for example. Squirrels by design, bury the acorns in the ground with the intention of eating them later. However when the snow falls it covers the buried acorns. Then guess what? The furry little critters can't find them and in time have managed to plant a forest. The acorns become the seeds that grow into more oak trees. They literally die to themselves in order to grow something that is bigger than themselves.
Christ illustrated this in John chapter 12, verses 23,24, and 25. And Jesus answered them, saying "The hour has come for the son of man to be glorified. Truly I say to you unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies it remains alone; but if it dies it bears much fruit. He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal....
There you have it. In order to bear the good fruit we have to die to ourselves, plant ourselves in the good soil of God's word and through him produce something that is bigger and better, than ourselves.