Smoke to See By

Ben Moyer


Knowing Nature in Northern Appalachia Smoke to See By is a collection of 21 essays and stories, many never before published, written by award-winning essayist and columnist Ben Moyer. The collection...

Out of stock



Knowing Nature in Northern Appalachia

Smoke to See By is a collection of 21 essays and stories, many never before published, written by award-winning essayist and columnist Ben Moyer. The collection tracks the writer’s quest for intimate knowledge of, and personal connection to, the natural features of his home region, the foothills and ridges of Northern Appalachia. Readers will follow Moyer along mountain streams and through native woodlands to insightful encounters with rare salamanders, wild trout, rattlesnakes, bears, songbirds, and bobcats, through a hurricane that turned to a blizzard, and working with troubled adolescents in a therapeutic camping program. In this selection of works, ranging from lengthy to one succinct page, Moyer reveals the meaning, and connection to place, he finds in butchering a deer in a freezing garage or in gathering blackberries amid summer’s heat. He also laments the loss of some familiar parts of the living landscape, unnoticed by many, as the region’s ecology absorbs onslaughts from invasive species and responds subtly to climate in transition. But overall, Smoke to See By is a quietly joyous celebration of the ecological resilience and diversity of a region those without Moyer’s perception might categorize as “unspectacular,” yet which harbors its own marvelous natural wonders, offered to those who would know them up close.

2024 WCoNA (Writers Conference of Northern Appalachia) Book of the Year!

Foremost Appalachian essayist Ben Moyer does not take for granted Emerson’s adage that for everything you gain, you lose something else. The sensuous prose here, in his finest writing on place—actually the finest literature on place in the northern Appalachian idiom—confronts us with how our losses exceed society’s yardstick for gain the more we tune out the miracles at work in this book’s simplest, lovingly evoked experiences: tasting the juicy lusciousness of a homegrown tomato; seeing the hourly theatrics of the ridges in our periphery; feeling the cycles of our earth through the bracing scratches of blackberry thorns, to name a few. Ben Moyer’s calling is to tune our senses to the gifts of people and places that are slipping irrevocably away. Recover them here, in these sacred pages...PJ Piccirillo, founding editor, the Northern Appalachia Review and author of The Indigo Scarf and Nunc Stans: A Ferry Tale

"Ben Moyer's stories are always pleasurable adventures to read. He brings a depth of experience, an eye for exquisite detail and an intimate human touch that not only place the reader in the scene and the thick of the action but also convey the mature and nuanced understanding he's gained over decades. We are able to absorb the benefit of his experience, but with his light touch as a writer, it's as if we're there ourselves, taking in images, people and lessons of life on our own terms."...Douglas Heuck, Editor, Pittsburgh Quarterly

by Ben Moyer
Page Count: 164
Trim Size: 6 x 9
Publish Date: March 7, 2023
Imprint: Catamount Press
Genre: Essays / Nature

NATURE / Regional

Customer Reviews

Based on 1 review Write a review

Recently Viewed Products

Customer Reviews

Based on 1 review
Susan Ramirez
If you are a proud northern Appalachian, read this book, and you will be even prouder.

As an outdoorswoman and native resident of Pennsylvania's Allegheny Mountains, I thoroughly enjoyed and related to Ben Moyer's Smoke to See By. Furthermore, I am thankful his writings give the vast amount of nature present in northern Appalachia some of the recognition it deserves. Northern Appalachia is a wonder-filled chunk of the good Earth. However, what resonated with me the most was the wisdom Mr. Moyer shared that the best place to form an intimate relationship with Mother Nature is one's own neck of the woods.