Cooing Epiphanies

Katies dog, Mutt, is trained in Algonquin. She says the prettiest words to him. Wendiha, mostly. (I’m sure I’m spelling that entirely wrong). She says “coo! coo!” sometimes too. Like an owl or a mama buffalo, but faster. I thought it meant hurry, at first, because she always said it when she was holding the door open waiting for him. Coo! But sometimes when she said it it seemed more like no. So I asked her and it means “you’re not doing the right thing,” or “you’re not in the right place.”

I’d never heard a word that meant such a thing before. I love it. I think it’s a great word to have. Of course someone who grew up speaking english would never think of such a word. And how we misinterperet things when we don’t know the language we’re being spoken to in.

It made me think of my ongoing dilemna with myself. When I’m not in Alaska I have a bad feeling. Kind of like a big No, I thought. But when I’m in Alaska I have a different feeling, also like a No, I thought. I tried to explain it to a woman in New Mexico once and she thought it was some kind of psycho drama where I had to pick between two things. No, I told her, I just can’t understand what I’m feeling. They are different feelings.

So I thought about this new word. You’re not in the right place. That’s how I feel when I’m not in Alaska. You’re not doing the right thing. That’s how I feel when I’m in Alaska. Then the only thing I can think of to do is to leave, and it starts all over again.

Now that I understand better, or at least think I do, I’m going to go back to Alaska and try doing something different. First I’m gonna go make a bunch of money, though, so that I can buy land, which will be part of the doing something different.


  1. I have this feeling also, of the White Mountains of NH where I grew up. These mountains have become a part of me and I them. Like a salmon returning to the waters of its birthplace I am forever drawn back here through some basic urge I cannot identify. This is where I belong.

  2. ah, honey….leave it to you to take a brief exchange on the front porch, mull it over inside, and make it into something extraordinary. you are amazing.

    as in most communication, the spelling doesn’t matter….when your heart is true, the content comes through loud and clear.

    a favorite phrase:
    “mwekane kenakihi” which means “dog watch over me”. i tried to teach mutt to growl on that command, thought it would be cool, but most often he only sounds like he has gas 🙂

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