The Pennsylvania State University
Cover for the book The Wingless Crow

The Wingless Crow

Charles Fergus
  • Copyright: 2007
  • Dimensions: 6 x 9
  • Page Count: 170 pages
  • Paperback ISBN: 978-0-271-03303-7
  • Series Name: Keystone Books®
“Charles Fergus is a watcher, a listener. That he thinks of nature as a gift, and that he wants us to share his enthusiasm, is communicated on every page. . . . He possesses a child’s sense of wonder, an adult’s ability to assemble matter into perspective, and a craftsmanlike prose that has rendered it all into a very fine book.”
“Charles Fergus knows how to keep a reader’s interest in all that is wild and wonderful with this collection of short, lyrical essays on nature, country living and the hunting life.”
The Wingless Crow is a wise and heartfelt book, with just as much relevance today as when these essays were first written. The word ‘classic’ is overused, but in this case, it’s the only one that fits.”
The Wingless Crow is a collection of nature-related essays that brilliantly blend woodland lore with wisdom, anecdotes, philosophy, humor and much more. Each page offers fresh surprises. If you are not a nature lover now, you most likely will be after reading this delightful book.”

The Wingless Crow joins together thirty-three superb short essays on nature, science, country living, and self. They are written by a man who—watchful, inquisitive, at times prickly—is animated by delight, wonder, and love for the rural places and wildlife of Pennsylvania. Charles Fergus wrote these insightful pieces for his monthly column, "Thornapples," which ran in Pennsylvania Game News magazine from the late 1970s until the early 1990s. They are based on many hours spent hiking, skiing, botanizing, and observing wild creatures, as well as trips to libraries and hours spent with books, teasing out information about the objects of his interest.

The writing is simple and vivid, rendered dramatic through the delivery of carefully chosen details. Fergus scrutinizes a captured dragonfly and sees "a bubble of a hide through which organs glimmer." He recalls a night in a tent when lightning shook the ground. He tells about topographic maps and deerflies and auctions and poisonous mushrooms and crows. Propelled by an unrelenting curiosity, a wry sense of humor, and the tough heart of a born curmudgeon, Fergus is astonished at how little he sees at first—and how much, with care and dedication, there is to see. Readers will delight in his observations of and insights into the everyday life, both human and wild, animating the wooded mountains and farmed valleys of the author's central Pennsylvania home.

Charles Fergus is the author of seventeen books, most of them about nature and the outdoors. He was born in central Pennsylvania and lived there for many years before moving, in 2003, to a small hill-country farm in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont.

Contents

Preface

Stump-sitting

On being a curmudgeon

Paper traveling

A four-star shower

Arteries

The way a mind wended

My old man

The vulgar bird

Hiking on your stomach

The showing is nightly

The decoy

Sulfur in the air

Cast iron, basic black

A fair day for hunters

Country matters

Destroying angels

To eat crow

The power of flies

An hour’s hunt

Upsik and siqoq

Stolen moments

Expectations

A rogues’ gallery of bats

Sleeping out

Crow

Stoltzfus consignment sale

The perfect hat

A small brown package

Mr. Detwiler

Holding infinity at bay

Three incidents

Lord and master of June

Fetch

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This book is a part of the Association of American University Presses' Books for Understanding: Writing of Place book list, created to help all of us better understand the world we live in.

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