The Tree and its Uses Content from the guide to life, the universe and everything

The Tree and its Uses

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A backlit tree
I think that I shall never see,
A poem lovely as a tree,
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest,
Against the earth's sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray.
A tree that may in summer wear,
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

– 'Trees' by Sgt Alfred Joyce Kilmer (1886 - 1918)

It's true that the stick is a very important tool but research indicates that it is merely a portable version of the tree. The tree, of course, was an essential survival tool for many species in the past and still remains so.

Living Trees

The tree, in its basic form, has a number of important uses. It's a provider of food and shelter, fuel and building materials. Climbing one can provide a vantage point from which to appreciate a beautiful sunset - an added bonus if you had only climbed it to escape a dangerous predator.

For the more enterprising developing species, it has more advanced functions. It can be used as a landmark or reference point when supplying directions or drawing a map. It can be painted or painted on. You can carve your initials into its bark, whether to mark the site of your last few breaths or a particularly pleasant tryst. It can even be used for entertainment - an essential tool for the odd game of hide-and-seek (though many who enjoy this pastime advise the use of more than one tree), it can also be converted into a workable Scrabble board with a little care and patience (this also doubles as an educational tool if you are considering raising a family in the wild). Should you possess suitable equipment, it's even possible to produce paper and dyes to write with.

Dead Trees

The fallen tree can be fashioned into strong beams for the building of advanced shelters, or used whole as a bridge or (rather precariously) a raft. If conveniently located at the top of a hill, the fallen tree can also be given a big push for use as a basic crushing weapon, particularly useful if outnumbered. If you're under attack, it's possible to fashion smaller sections of the tree into pointed spears, or break off limbs to use as clubs if there is no sharp edge to hand. It is this portable quality that most likely led to the popular adoption of the stick as the general-purpose survival tool we know and love.

Some Trees in the Edited Guide

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