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Wild Delicate Seconds

29 Wildlife Encounters

Charles Finn

5.5 × 8.5 inches. 112 pages.

2012. ISBN 978-0-87071-655-3. Paperback, $16.95.

"Wild Delicate Seconds is an exquisite read, full of small surprises with big heartbeats. Finn's stories are warbler-sized. They cut through the air of the mind like flames."
—Gretel Ehrlich, author of The Solace of Open Spaces and The Future of Ice

"These brief meditations are as beautiful for what they donʼt say as for what they do. Charles Finn does not pad, overreach, or over-emote. His precision accounts of wildlife encounters summon awe, wonder, and magnificence when those feelings are authentically present, but just as readily summon comedy if the encounter was, as Edward Hoagland once put it, 'like meeting a fantastically dressed mute on the road.' These are not fleeting glances: they are full-on full-bodied face-to-face invocations of the way animals and birds 'speak out by saying precisely nothing,' uncannily propelling us into 'the exact place where the world begins.'"
—David James Duncan, author of The Brothers K and My Story as Told by Water

In twenty-nine micro-essays that border on prose poems, Charles Finn captures chance encounters with the everyday—and not so everyday—animals, birds, and insects of North America.

There are no maulings or fantastic escapes in Finn’s narratives—only stillness and attentiveness to beauty. With profundity, humor, grace, and compassion, Finn pays homage to the creatures that share our world—from black bears to bumble bees, mountain lions to muskrats—and, in doing so, touches on what it means to be human.

Wild Delicate Seconds will appeal to both trained and casual wildlife observers; to birders, hikers, conservationists, ecologists, and naturalists; and to readers of American nature writers such as Henry David Thoreau, John Muir, Barry Lopez, Annie Dillard, and Mary Oliver.


Member of AAUP