Thursday, April 14, 2011

Counting Coup - Robert Perkins

Rating: *****

Robert Perkins pulls you in with a mystical and well written start. He starts the article with, "Nature is shy. Rarely do I witness her interactions. Always I arrive too late. I find the explosion of ptarmigan feathers on the ground, the fish skeleton on the rock, the wolf tracks in the sand, the white bones of a caribou, long dead. But once, I was there." This opening draws you in wanting to read more.

This is a story of predator and prey, and white wolf and a caribou with Perkins in the middle. Perkins canoeing down rapids took a break in an eddy, when a wolf jumped in to the water. The wolf had it's eye on a lone caribou. They two amazing animals started playing predator and pray when the caribou got away and swam down stream. The wolf was swimming back to shore when Perkins pet its head, as the wolf gave him a look of disdain as if to say, "You touched me. How dare you!" Perkins remembers that the Plains Indians had a custom called "counting coup", where they would ride in on their enemy an touch them, it showed they had courage. Perkins had just counted coup on a wolf.

This article has shown me that wild wolves aren't that different from dog. When Perkins pets the wolf's head as the wolf is swimming back to shore, Perkins writes that the wolf gave him a look as if to say, "You touched me. How dare you!" This made me think of my own dog, Emma. Emma hates being touched, and when you pet her she gives you a look of disdain just like the wolf in the article. This article is about a magical once in a lifetime chance, that I wish I will come across some day.

I highly recommend reading this article for yourself, so you too can read about Robert Perkins' once in a life time chance and read Perkins wonderful form of writing that draws you in right from the start, and keeps you enthralled until the end.

Perkins, Robert. "Counting Coup". Kanawa (Canada's Paddling Magazine), Summer 2010. Print

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