A tree starts life as a tiny seed. Given the right conditions, the seed will start to take root. The tree seedling absorbs water and splits the seed coat. First a tiny root grows and bends downward into the soil under the influence of gravity. Finally, the stem and leaves emerge from the seed coat and push their way through the soil toward the sunlight. The seedling then begins to manufacture its own food. Eventually, it grows into a larger tree called a sapling.
Despite their variations in appearance, all trees have essentially the same basic structure. They have a central column, the trunk. The trunk is the main stem of the tree. It has two main functions: first, support the branches, twigs, and leaves; secondly, transport food and water throughout the tree. The outer bark on the trunk protects the inside of the tree from injury and from drying out. The branches of the tree bear an outside covering layer of leaves. The branches give the appearance of a root system above ground. Anchoring the tree in the ground is a network of roots, which spreads and grows thicker in proportion to the growth of the tree above the ground. Roots are usually found at the lowest end of the tree and spread in a vast and intricate network, like underground branches. These roots usually extend as far underground as the twigs spread in the crown of the tree. In addition to anchoring the tree in the ground, roots absorb water and nutrients from the soil. The tree uses these to manufacture food and grow.
Trees are seen as representatives of the world itself and with their inter-relationship with nature, by early man, it is not surprising that the coexisting tree is concerned with the mutual dependency of all things on Earth. I see the branches grow up strong and outwards from one single trunk, which to me represents unity. These branches are like a network of welcoming arms extended toward the sky inviting all to come rest and seek shelter. The roots of the tree represent the need to embrace life and draw life from the earth to survive. The sap of the tree flows through the tree like blood through veins and therefore to place things in the tree would enable a healing process to take place for an animal, a human, or a season. I see peace and tranquility in trees. I see cats and birds sitting side-by-side in harmony, no squabbling and certainly no death. Each is content and the overall system is in balance.
Trees, like all other living things, eventually grow old and die. For some trees, death may come as suddenly as a lightning strike. High winds might uproot a tree, or an ice storm may coat it and bend it to the breaking point. For most trees, though, death is preceded by a period of natural decline.