"When Winter Counts Coup"

12" x 24" Oil on Linen

Winter upon the Great Plains can be quite lovely with glistens of white snow evenly distributed over a flat or slightly rolling landscape.  Or it can be fearsome and deadly when the wind rises in the sub freezing atmosphere and a person cannot see six feet around themselves.  Imagine all this while being alone afoot in the middle of a night blizzard.  Accidents happen or people and animals do perish and are hidden for a time until the warmth of spring starts to reveal the end of their story.  Sort of puts our mortality in sharp focus.  "Coup" comes from the French meaning to touch or strike.  Warriors made more of a supreme effort to touch an enemy than they did to kill him.  It was their best measure of bravery.  It was applied no matter the situation.  You could touch an enemy with your hand, or rifle, or bow, or with the long crooked pole translated as "coup stick."   You could do it at anytime.  The enemy could be be alive and fighting, or wounded, or bound, or dead - made little difference.  In this case, the harsh winter counted the first coup.

 

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