Death Of A Willow

There had been a tightening of security around the Willow tree in the forest near a highly classified area close to our current location. We noticed the tree had been scrutinized by several agencies and even had some type of corrective or punitive surgery, some might say preemptive but we know punitive when we see it, performed in the recent past. Limbs had been hacked off willy-nilly. Untreated wounds were left to heal on their own. It had been rated a Def-con 3 type tree before but lately something had worried the inspectors about its possible interior health and it had been upgraded to Def-con 5 status. This is a severe rating normally only given to a tree thought to be in imminent risk of implosion and usually means corrective if not terminal action needs to be taken quickly.

Prior to any drastic action actually taking place in cases like this such as cutting it down to its nub, or yanking it out root and stem, an arborist is sent in to monitor the tree due to its poor condition. Massive limbs had been mysteriously tearing loose from their moorings high in the canopy of the tree and falling to the ground dozens of feet below. Obviously, havoc ensued amongst those standing or living below it. Each of these limbs weigh several hundred pounds or more and become deadly though unwieldy missiles as they plummet towards the earth at speeds reaching dozens of feet per second. Not quite light speed but fast enough to slam into something pretty darn hard. Several disturbing reports of small animals being terminated had been bandied about, especially the demise of one LlhasaDoodle named Eugene, when he was discovered under one of these errant limbs. Nothing but his four little feet remained sticking out on either side of the heavy branch, his bright little toenails the only sign of joy in that sad scene. The only good news was that due to his now current flatness he was able to be interred in one of those Priority Mail, small flat rate boxes that they give out free from the Post Office. The handy dimensions of the side loading box (8 11/16″ x 5 7/16″ x 1 3/4″) lessened the financial burden on the bereaved owners and made it easier to insert little Eugene with the minimum amount of bending him significantly and speed him on his final journey.

The arborist after being assigned to this tree, in this case an orange-shafted flicker, immediately began extensive boring into the heart of the tree to ascertain what kind and how much damage was really there. You can see the main shaft it had started directly above its right wing. Extensive work had been done by the flicker to drop the main shaft into the vein of misery that had developed near the center or heart of the tree. Unfortunately it was not good news for the tree. The news was bad, in  fact, real bad. A condition known as “TreeKablooey” which taken from the Latin means “that which is ripped asunder”, or to clarify further as it is known in lay terms ” Whoa, Ja see that, that sucker just all swolled up of a sudden and blew itself to begeezus.” This is normally a terminal situation for the affected tree.

The flicker in a vain attempt to save the tree was in the midst of performing a risky and rare procedure called a Tree Colostomy which is technical arborist talk to describe a surgical operation in which a piece of the vein of misery (the affected area of bad crap making the tree miserable) is diverted to an artificial opening in the abdominal wall of the tree’s trunk so as to bypass a damaged part of the mess affecting the tree. That would allow all the bad stuff causing the tree to blow its limbs off to drain harmless down the side of the trunk. Unfortunately it didn’t work. Not only did it not work it aggravated the problem by creating another route for the built up pressure to escape. Now it was every man, bird and squirrel for themselves. The Tree Removal Specialists or the Bring Out Your Dead team was placed on standby and notices were sent out. It looked like the end for a huge old willow that had steadfastly stood there was for decades.

One of the tenants of the tree alarmed by the frequent seismic disturbances that traveled up and down the tree’s trunk came down to find out what the problem was. When the arborist explained the situation to him his immediate response was “What about my nuts? How will I protect my nuts?” The flicker tried to explain that the tree was doomed and about to disintegrate, not to mention blow the hell up, and he should worry more about himself and any loved ones he had and less about his nuts. But as sound as this advice was it did little to soothe the frantic squirrel who takes his nuts very seriously. “Move your nuts now if you’re going to!” yelled the flicker and began a warning drumming on the tree to alert any other tenants who might have nuts or any other valuables to protect who hadn’t gotten the message yet that they should flee. There was a flurry of activity as the various tenants began scurrying about carrying off their valuables in their beaks or in a small rucksacks attached haphazardly to their persons. The squirrel having finally settled down was seen dragging his own nutsack, in which he had all of his important nuts, down the tree to safety. Lives were saved, but unfortunately not the tree. It wasn’t long before there was a huge explosion of sound as the main branch then the other lesser branches following closely behind, shattered and broke loose.

Then there was nothing left but a pile of broken branches, leaves, twigs, empty nut shells, displaced bark, and other debris to mark the site of a once great member of the forest. Even the mighty trucks as big around as a Russian swimsuit model had fallen and shattered. It was well and truly a spectacular death of a Willow. Could this have been prevented? I don’t know, maybe. Did it happen at all? Uhmm maybe, probably not even, but it could have. Stuff like that happens all the time. Do squirrels worry about their nuts that much? Yeah, I’d say they do. And with that we leave you with the warning “Do not your house build under the large Willow for it might just come crashing down and bust your crap up.” Just something to ponder.

 

All Dreams Must End

A view from the main deck of the World Headquarters of The Institute, “Even the hills are sad” said The Director from his gold plated Chair of Immensity as he gazed out into the unknown one last time.

As many of you know *The Institute has been a constant in the life of the blog here at BigShotsNow.com since the blog was started. It has been the center of knowledge and wisdom gained by a continuous quest for the unusual, the ridiculous, the sublime, not to mention the impossible. It has more than fulfilled its mandate to collect, observe, analyze, collate, spindle and in some cases mutilate the facts that have been collected. Our constant scientific approach to reporting the incredible but strange observations we have made has made us an unrivaled source for those who need to know stuff. Stuff being the little niggling thoughts in the back of your mind, such as “Are there more fake flamingos in the world than real ones?” Answer: Yes. What, you didn’t know that!

Our motto ” Tell them and they will believe” has been our guiding precept since the very beginnings of The Institute from its inception back in the misty, raw, primeval formation of its creation. Back to the time when we first began to make stuff up and then tell people about it.

The “The Institute” (it is always referred to as The Institute no matter how awkward that may make things) is composed of many huge interconnected yet rambling structures with ancient high walls and soaring towers, narrow deeply cut windows suitable for defense if needed, balconies and various platforms that jut out from the walls at dizzying heights for observation and the making of photographic studies.

There is an open to the air aviary with gorgeously colored birds from every part of the globe, a celestial observation dome with a one-off custom Hubble telescope to make discoveries never before seen by human eyes no matter how keen, weather modification facilities, galleries with art collections rivaling the Louvre, single use bathrooms, a dirigible tower for the mooring of The Institute’s own fleet of sleek but shiny airships that continually arrive from all four corners of the globe bearing visitors and dignitaries, educators and students, really smart people and some just a taco short of a combination plate. All of them here to soak in the tenacious atmosphere of The Institute. There is a full-sized fully automatic medical center staffed with neat medical stuff so advanced even an intern can run it and often do, that we haven’t even unpacked it all yet. It’s still sitting there in boxes, with labels like “Heart Installer !!! This end up” and Billy Kimshee’s “New and Popular Lymph Node Stripper” plus others too medical to list. Whole operations have been performed here with and without human assistance, or anesthetic for that matter. Just lock them in the chair, select what procedure you want done from the digital menu and hit the on button.

Nestled on the slopes of an ancient caldera The Institute hugs the side of a mountain and overlooks the meadows and forests that make up the floor of the bowl formed after the last eruption that seems like months ago. Down on the gentle land in the valley miles below you can see great herds of mule deer and Elk making their way from stream to pasture. Parts of the valley floor are sectioned off for agricultural pursuits, you can see some of our indentured servants and interns (same thing really) working happily away bringing in the harvests and tending to the livestock, keeping them from straying into the razor wire and the fell pits dug to discourage trespassing. Our huge fields with crops of sisal and myrrh used in the production of quinine and other life saving drugs lie next to the great barren areas of crushed volcanic ash, mined for the making of tooth whitening powder in the mills and factories scattered throughout this great land of ours. Enormous herds of nearly extinct wildlife, black rhinos, lowland gorillas, Minah birds, black racers and African spitting Cobras, ferrets, rare blue wildebeest and Snow leopards are cultivated for sale to the many Wild Game restaurants throughout the United States and parts of the Far East but not North Korea. The Institute is a bucolic land full of life and love and sometimes puppies, but not always.

If you are the kind of reader who is brave or merely curious, or just plain bored, you could type in the phrase “The Institute” into the handy and permanent search box at the top of the page and you would find dozens if not many examples of the amazing if not incredulous varieties of scientific discoveries, unrepentant adventures, steamy instructions on how to live a more fulfilling life, pleas (read begging) for funding our many sketchy unsupported government projects, new unique explanations of how things really work and handy tips on how not to be a dweeb but instead be someone cool and fun without being that good looking, that your friends and that gorgeous chick with the insane betty’s in 7b would admire. Go ahead, take a chance it might just change your life (be sure to read our disclaimer page before making any real life changes). We are not and never have been responsible for weird stuff you choose to do after visiting the internet.

The Institute has been a fully realized dream of the author and as such it has been representational of a time and place that happened in a blink of an eye, or the firing of a synapse in the lower dark place of his brain. It has been a way to share events and happenings that actually took place in the real world but perhaps not completely as they were described in the various posts that were written. But like all dreams the dreamer is forced to wake and face a new day. Even as you read this the mighty walls of The Institute are becoming thin, slowly folding in on themselves, becoming transparent, the far-reaching borders of The Institutes’s grounds pulling in to the center, shrinking until the once mighty reaches of its borders are nothing more than a mote in God’s eye.

The indentured servants, interns and our tame PhD’s that have faithfully served us since we began making them up way back in 2013, a year that will live in infamy, are evaporating like snowflakes landing on steaming prose, returning to whatever state they were in before being shanghaied to live and exist here in the confines of The Institutes world. It is a time of change. Bold, tumultuous, totally unexciting change, where due to some awful but catastrophic events that have occurred that we would like to share with you but can’t, mostly because it might cause depression on a scale unprecedented in the world to date, the The Institute has been forced to close down, shut its doors, and perhaps, and this is the tear-jerker part, cease its activities forever. As Mr. Bill said on Saturday Night Live some time ago “Oh No! Not that! Don’t do that!” yet it’s true Virginia, The Institute may be gone forever.

When you next wake The Institute will be no more than a brief if not exciting dream, sometimes a nightmare, sometimes one of those kind you learned about in High School health class, but always interesting, always fun, or meant to be anyway. All dreams must end. The dreamer wakes, looks about, struggles to find meaning in the new day, and soldiers on. As do we all. Yes it’s a memory, some might even think it a loss, we love those people, they’re the ones that kept the dream alive for as long as it lasted, but if you stop and consider that after a long day we have a new night, a time to rest and rejuvenate, a time to turn the days thoughts, activities and stresses off and perchance to dream again. Remember in dreams anything may happen.

The blog BigShotsNow will continue with new images and new stories to accompany them, as often as The Director can write them, and as always some of them will be true, not all, but some. The fate of The Institute is up in the air, like the author stated, perchance we’ll dream again.

* Note: For those of you unfamiliar with The Institute and what it does, please see the page labeled The Institute on the Menu Bar above. That should explain everything. You shouldn’t have one single question remaining regarding The Institute after reading it. None. For those of you favored few who already know about the Institute, Nevermind. Return to your daily activities. Thank you for your support.

A New Day Dawning

There’s big, Big, Big news coming concerning *The Institute. We mean huge enormous news. Unfortunately we cannot tell you what it is yet as it is still unfolding. But you’ll be really surprised. Some of you may be upset by it. Others may be happy. You’ll know who you are when we can disclose it.

One thing for sure is that the blog BigShotNews.com will still be alive and well and posting all the news, stories, images and advice that you have come to depend on and for the most part, cannot live without.

That’s all we can say about things right now, but stay tuned, as events unfold you’ll be the first to know. OK then gotta run. Stuff is happening and we’re like busy people right now.

* Note: For those of you unfamiliar with The Institute and what it does, please see the page labeled The Institute on the Menu Bar above. That should explain everything. You shouldn’t have one single question remaining regarding The Institute after reading it. None. For those of you favored few who already know about the Institute, Nevermind. Return to your daily activities. Thank you for your support.

She’s Back! And She’s Brought The Kids – Again

She’s back and she’s brought the kids, again! This is Edith Halfway Jones one of our resident Black bears here at *The Institute and if you are a long time reader of the blog you know that she is a regular here. It was exactly one year ago on May 12 that Edith showed up late for work and in danger of not only getting her pay docked but losing her position on the elite bear patrol that guards the inner perimeter of The Institute. Her excuse was three little bear cubs, obviously hers, that she had as a single mother over the winter.

Edith usually a demure, quiet non-partier had let her hair down or at least her fur, got hammered on a mixture of EverClear infused with pine needles, spent some time with a bear she had just met and the result was the triplets, Solenoid, Nodule and little Fleabert. For additional information about her return last year see this post.

http://www.bigshotsnow.com/bear-in-the-saddle/

We  thought she had left for good last Fall taking the cubs and heading into the far reaches of the back country outside the borders of The Institute and we wouldn’t see her again. So it was with no little surprise when she showed up this evening, back in the saddle again, with the triplets stuffing their faces with as much of this new green grass as they could choke down. She looks good. She’s sleek and shapely. The cubs look good too. They’re fat for just being out of the den. Edith seems a little more calm and adjusted to being a mom. Last year she micro-managed the cubs a lot with a fair amount of growling and some biting but this year she’s not concerned at all with their chasing around and heading off into the brush alone. A little chirp from her and they’re right back where she can lay a paw on them if she needs to. Motherhood seems to suit her.

As was mentioned earlier she has checked in on the 12th of April this year, almost a month early. Last year she came back on the 12th of May. It’s been warmer this winter and the kids probably got up early and after their playing squealing Climb on Mom games with their sharp little claws and head bumping for milk, she couldn’t stand to hear them yell “Let’s go out. I’m hungry.” one more time she gave up and came out early. Luckily the grass is ready and there’s lots of ground squirrels and voles around to eat too. The cubs are twice the size they were last fall.

There you have it. We got Spring. We got bears. There’s even a pair of Bluebirds catching bugs by flying softly into the window glass with a bump and grabbing a mouthful and nesting under the deck again. What more could you want.

Spring iz Sprung.

The Grass is Riz.

I wonder where the Flowers iz.

Hope  your place is on schedule and your bears are back. Happy Spring to you all.

* Note: For those of you unfamiliar with The Institute and what it does, please see the page labeled The Institute on the Menu Bar above. That should explain everything. You shouldn’t have one single question remaining regarding The Institute after reading it. None. For those of you favored few who already know about the Institute, Nevermind. Return to your daily activities. Thank you for your support.

11:00 o’clock And All’s Sort Of OK

We had gray skies and Camelot rains here the last couple of days and this morning as I was making my rounds inventorying the trees here at the top of the world I was suddenly struck with the realization that one of my oldest friends was not doing so well.

We’ve known each other for over 25 years and have weathered many a storm together. Although old and past its prime it always appeared to be strong and vital and nowhere near ready to give up and lie down as so many of its peers have done. It has withstood one hundred and one mile per hour winds. Incredible snow loads. During the storm of the century the snow was half way up its trunk. Every bird that could peck holes in its slowly softening trunk have done so. Flickers, woodpeckers of several varieties, anything that could make a hole in it has. It has been the home of legions of Canyon wrens, black-capped chickadees, even a family of bluebirds. It has participated in life to its fullest.

Through it all it has stood steady and resolute, Nature’s own version of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Defiantly strong in the face of all adversity while its lesser brethren gave up, tottered and fell to the ground to begin their long journey back into the earth that had nourished them for so many years. Not so my friend. It was as if it seemed to say “Is that all you have? Come on throw it at me. I can take it.”

As the years passed we both have been through our storms together. As each wave of turmoil swept over me I would look out and there my friend would be leaning into life with a strength I envied and tried to emulate, not always doing the best job of it, but buoyed up by seeing my old friend still standing firm. There were the successes too, some monumental, at least in my life. Great huge highs that were caused by family, or business, or simply being in a place that I loved as much as life itself. Always I shared it with my friend just outside the window.

Sometime ago I went and stood next to it feeling the texture of its rough and weathered surface. Pieces flaked off beneath my fingers yet it still seemed vital and present. Not fragile, not at the end of its road. I even pushed at it, testing whether it was as firm in its stance as I thought it was. It didn’t budge. I thought, well there’s a lesson there bucko. Keep grounded, keep a firm grip and you can make it too.

Of course at that time I wasn’t taking in the fact that time marches on and all things change. Now I see that the slow passage of our journey together has finally caught up with my old friend and it is calling its name. It is a tired old tree now. I fancy that if I look real close I can see it shiver in the wind, slightly swaying. Then I don’t. I really don’t want to see that. I’ve always thought that my friend and its sons next to it have represented the hands of a clock. The hands pointing to eleven o’clock, measuring our friendship in its own slow way. I, unable to see the slight movement of its hands but knowing they were moving even if I can’t see them do so. Now it seems the hands have stopped moving for my friend, even reversing themselves a little. If their position is eleven o’clock now, it is inevitable that as it must do, they will move to nine o’clock some time. When that happens my friend will have completed its journey.

Soon my old friend and I will part company. I to a new place where hopefully there will be new old friends. It to its final journey and rest on the earth that has sustained it all its life. I hope that it waits to complete its mission until I’m gone. I need it there to be strong and resolute in its constancy so I can be too.

 

 

Denver March Powwow

Quick shot taken with my iPhone. Yes real photographers use their phones once in a while

Short Post today. I’m shooting the famous Denver March Powwow this weekend and as always it is fantastic. This is the Grand Entry from Friday night and as you can see not only was it well attended but everyone was dressed to the nines and it was incredible. If you get a chance go to the Denver Coliseum and take in this amazing spectacle. More later.