“So who is this ‘Bright Cow,’ anyway?” – from April 13, 2008

Flying crow (1024px)

Occasionally people wonder where I got the totem name Bright Crow that I use in my email address. Here’s the story I wrote to explain it in the voice of Walhydra’s amanuensis in 2008.


Walhydra likes to tease her amanuensis about a typo he makes occasionally with his totem name, Bright Crow.

Since he’s been typing for forty years, often to earn a living, he just shrugs and laughs. Nonetheless, she thinks the question

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“Howling” – November 7, 2009

Introductions: Mom died with Alzheimer’s in 2011. In Fall of 2009, we had moved her from assisted living to skilled nursing due to fall risk and escape seeking. Howling,” from my blog Walhydra’s Porch on 11/9/2009, tells of our last coherent conversation about death.

Quill & InkWalhydra is one of my storytelling alter-egos: a grouchy old witch unhappily reincarnated as a gay male would-be writer.

When things with Mom got

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I had forgotten

Death meditating, lotus position

For several months I have felt as if I were slipping back into clinical depression again.

The outward signs are here. The fogged thinking, lack of enthusiasm, fussiness, longing to sleep. The undertone of despair. All too generalized to ascribe to any one or cluster of causes.

Yet somehow the subtle bodily symptoms I’ve come to recognize over the decades are not really present. As a scientist in the medieval sense—someone who seeks to know—I’ve looked inwardly for years at

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The alabaster jar

Many of us are chronically distressed by the suffering we see around us. It confronts us in the 24/7 news cycle, in social media, in what we pass on the street every day. We live with a longing to be rid of the pain and guilt that we experience in witnessing all of this suffering.

That longing drives us to cast about for things to do that would “fix the problem.” We try and we urge others to try political

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