The Counsel of Trees

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By Andrea Bradney

Recorded by author

Ginkgo Tree in Fall – Photo credit Andrea Bradney

I set along the path,
In search of the counsel of trees.
There are no prayers I can offer to ease the ache I feel.

So I listen to the crunch of soil,
Leaves and rock beneath my footsteps.
A chorus of birdsong reassures me that I have come to the right place.

Pleading with whatever force governs this cruel and magnificent universe,
I ask what can possibly hold the well of pain buried deep in my body?

Yet, as I stop to look around,
I can see that the earth, the trees, are holding me tenderly.
On either side of the path,
I am enveloped by branches extending to embrace me,
So I keep walking.

Near the end of the path,
A seat at the circle of trees awaits me.
Greeting the wise council,
I inquired “What can I do?
Where can I go?
How can I live with this pain?”

Speaking no judgment,
The quiet caress of the wind offers respite.

Looking at the forest floor,
Where there is decay all around,
I understand.

These trees know what it is to endure in harsh circumstances.
A message to my soul,
“When you walk here, you will be held.
You will see decay and death, but you will also see emergence and new life.
When you walk here, you will still know pain, but listen!”

“Listen to the cracking leaves,
The snapping branches,
The hymn of the birds.”

“Rest in the chorus of crickets and frogs,
The playfulness of the scurrying squirrel.
Take it all in!”

“Let it be a salve to your wounded heart.
There is no way around the pain.
Keep walking and know that our love is under your feet.“


Andrea Bradney grew up in the Knobs Region of Kentucky and experiences a sense of deep rootedness when exploring the trails of forests where she has walked countless times in her life. Andrea believes our own healing is found in the remembrance of who we are, an inextricably connected part of this beautiful earth. Her interests include the study of breathwork, meditation, movement, yogic philosophy, and spirituality.  Andrea has witnessed the ways that reconnecting to our bodies, hearts, spirits and sense of belonging in nature can create within us a greater sense of peace, which ripples out into the world around us.

6 thoughts on “The Counsel of Trees

  1. So very proud of my daughter, Andrea, and the beautiful young woman she’s become. Love you very much. Mom ❤️????

  2. Beautiful and very deep. You have a beautiful soul that reaches out to everyone you meet. I love you very much and always will .
    Love,
    Aunt Debbie

  3. Andrea,
    This is beautifully written. You can feel the experience of what pain is and how you can accept it. You have a beautiful soul and a loving, forgiving heart. I love you with all my heart.
    Aunt Deb

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