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Swarm Tree: Of Honeybees, Honeymoons, and the Tree of Life

Come join me on this adventure. It’s sort of a down-to-earth spiritual journey. We’ll be following tracks, messing with bees, chasing butterflies, stalking deer, catching fish, and picking up pawpaws — and hitchhikers. We’ll be learning the lore and natural history of the plants and animals we encounter, but we’ll also be probing Creation, asking the deeper questions, and learning the stories that connect us all.
This book is partially about crossing boundaries—journeying into new realms—gaining new perspectives. Sometimes a boundary is defined by something as tangible as a barbed wire-topped chain link fence, or something as political as a mere dotted line on a map, as legalistic as an interpretation of the law, as mutable as the shoreline of a tidal creek, and sometimes it is as unfathomable as the tender edges of a lover’s heart.
I’ll be introducing you to a number of interesting critters and plants as well as some extraordinary human characters. Along with truckers and Georgia cops, you’ll be meeting old Appalachian mountain folk, young, rowdy good ole boys, hitchhikers with butterfly nets, a renegade PhD, an ancient African-American wise woman, and my own sweet wife and son. These folks have special relationships with nature and share unique perspectives that can help us stretch our own boundaries and more fully realize our multifaceted connections to this wondrous web of life of which we are a part.
At the end of many of the chapters I have included natural history notes with information about some of the plants and animals and their ecological and cultural relationships. These notes bring the background into focus, flesh out the setting, and give a broader and deeper context to the stories being told.
So I welcome you on this adventure. We’ll be exploring the confluence of nature, humanity and spirit — diving deeply into the richness of the natural world and coming back to the surface, and we’ll be climbing high into the tree of life, exploring some of its branches and returning to earth — with amazing stories, hilarious insights, and deep spiritual truths.
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