High Country Magic

There are probably one or two of you out there who don’t believe in magic. Don’t be ashamed. It’s all right. You were most likely dropped on your head when you were very little and that part of your brain, the part that believes in magic, got a little scrambled. This is not your fault. If you want to blame someone, blame your clumsy parents. Or even that monster that lives under your bed who in trying to get you, caused you to fall out of the bed right on to your stubby little noggin. In any event that fall likely caused a serious disturbance in your parietal cortex. Many physicians feel that this is bad. Your parietal cortex is needed for many daily functions and shouldn’t be screwed up if you want to live a happy normal life. Or believe in magic.

There is hope for the afflicted however. They can be brought back to the straight and narrow where they can see, feel and believe in magic again. Sometimes this is occasioned by another blow to the head and the bent and/or twisted part of that old parietal cortex is slammed back into its rightful place again. This could allow for the acceptance of magic to be reestablished.

Another possibility is seeing your sister Agnes’s kid Alfie turned into a toad by an irritable wizard and left to hang around in the garden eating flies and other disgusting things for the rest of his life. He was a miserable little buttock anyway, so that might be an improvement. That might do it. That might be just the shock you needed to get that old magic rolling again.

Another possibility is you’re just a late bloomer. For most of your life you didn’t have time for magic. You were working too hard. You watched a lot of daytime TV. You didn’t get out much. Your Mom and Dad, perhaps the ones who dropped  you on your head in the first place, told you there was no such thing as magic so just shut up. They probably had things to say about Santa, The Easter bunny, and honest politicians too. This has the result of hardening your parietal cortex and creating a no magic zone in your outlook on life. However listen up as this is a big however, as you age your brain softens, it gets the consistency of a blueberry pudding or even in some cases cottage cheese. This has been well documented by real Doctors and the occasional serial killer actually looking into your brain cavity with special tools to see what’s going on in there. This brain softening has both good and bad results. The good is you are now free to see and observe magic again, like you did when you were a kid. Common place things take on a new life, a beauty you had forgotten exists. Such as the beauty seen in the photo above. Tell me it doesn’t take magic to create something as beautiful as that.

The bad of course is you begin to lose all motor functions and are well on your way to becoming a total vegetable. You’ve seen this, your brother’s wife’s father has all the cognitive responses of an overcooked cauliflower, he was never much brighter than a four slot toaster anyway but even if he was like a major brainiac before, he’s a mental dribbling idiot now. This is too bad and often unfair but since when has life been all that fair.

Remember magic comes in all forms, from great big events, like getting the tax code straightened out, to smaller but no less magical events than finding beauty in the middle of the gently falling snow. For now I’m gratefully accepting the small events in the magical world such as this High Country Magic seen while walking in the woods one day. Here’s hoping you still see magic in your life.


Merry Christmas

All of us here at BigShotsNow the blog, The Director, all of the interns even the ones to whom Christmas is just a time to work harder, The Institute itself under its unofficial recognition as the greatest Institute in the world, our faithful animal employees such as Pepper Blue our resident snow taster shown here hard at work checking the taste of the snow for granular consistency, all of us, even Dwight Lutsey the author and the one responsible for the blog want to take this time to say a heartfelt Merry Christmas to all of you. May this time be filled with family, friends and loved ones, not necessarily in that order and that each of you got that pony with the red saddle that you’ve been waiting on all these years. If not keep the faith there’s always next year. May you be blessed with the goodwill of the season and that it lasts all through the coming year. Merry Christmas and come back and visit often.

Announcement! 200th Post! Thousands weep!

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It’s time for a small celebration here at BigShotsNow.com. We can proudly announce that today marks our 200th post. That’s an accomplishment that ranks right up there with successfully completing a pedicure, filing your own taxes and being chosen as the bachelor most likely to stay that way. None the less it is an accomplishment. Hell I know people that haven’t completed 200 things in their whole life other than mistakes.

During that time we have posted diverse articles that touched on subjects ranging from political events, personal feelings, life in the fast lane, life in the slow lane, history, suspense, satire, introspection of the worst possible kind, wildlife that occasionally involved animals, things that make you go hmmm, and maybe some just plain fun. Here are a dozen or so that seemed to make you happy or at least less murderous, and they are presented again for your reading and viewing pleasure.

Montana fixer-upper http://www.bigshotsnow.com/montana-fixer-upper/

Bones of the Past http://www.bigshotsnow.com/bones-of-the-past/

One-headed Buffalo calf  http://www.bigshotsnow.com/one-headed-buffalo-calf/

1875  http://www.bigshotsnow.com/1875-2/

Zen & Everclear http://www.bigshotsnow.com/zen-and-everclear/

Fishing Wolves http://www.bigshotsnow.com/fishing-wolves/

So a Condor, a Raven and A Duck Walk into this Bar… http://www.bigshotsnow.com/so-a-condor-a-raven-and-a-duck-walk-into-this-bar/

Birthin’ Babies http://www.bigshotsnow.com/birthin-babies/

Just Two Guys http://www.bigshotsnow.com/just-two-guys/

Boulders For Sale or Rent http://www.bigshotsnow.com/boulders-for-sale-or-rent/

Moab’s Secret Shame http://www.bigshotsnow.com/moabs-secret-shame/

Heading Sideways http://www.bigshotsnow.com/heading-sideways/

Ladies Please http://www.bigshotsnow.com/ladies-please/

When I was Just a Young Boy http://www.bigshotsnow.com/when-i-was-just-a-young-boy/

Most of our posts have been presented with relentless monotony and that may continue but life has a weird but strange habit of affecting the best laid plans so there may be some gaps in the future. It is time for me to get back out in the field and actually take pictures again and there may be some empty days, post-wise, as I tend to be places where there isn’t cell phone service let alone the internet. I know that may be hard to understand but there are still places where those things are of lesser importance. On a more serious note, if you can stand the shock, I want to thank all of you who have been following the blog. It has made my feeble attempts at telling my stories worthwhile and it helps knowing that there are those of you who may be addicted to this walk on the wild side. (There is no treatment or cure by the way) Thanks one more time for being you and I’ll see you in the blog.

And Now For Something Completely Different

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This is the time of year when we begin to shift away from the vibrant colors of the green growing season. The riotous colors of summer have had their day and now the parties’ over. As you look around it may be difficult to spot beauty, the colors are muted and understated, the background support of the greenery is gone and things stand on their own. You begin to see shapes and textures in a way that wasn’t apparent before. You have to look closer and with a different eye, if you will, to see the beauty that exists when the season begins to prepare itself for the long winter sleep.

I have long appreciated the Japanese aesthetics and view of the individual as opposed to the many, in finding beauty. According to the western take on Japanese aesthetics, “the Japanese aesthetic is a set of ancient ideals that include wabi (transient and stark beauty), sabi (the beauty of natural patina and aging), and yūgen (profound grace and subtlety)”. At least that’s how the bright folks over at Wikipedia see it. That description works for me too.

Many times when my mind needs clearing I will go out and look for this kind of image. The time it takes to find it and get my mind aligned with the calmness needed to see the perfect combination that is the melding of the transient, stark beauty with the natural patina and aging, transports me from a dark place to one filled with light. It is very cheap therapy.

To some this image will look like a picture of some weeds and to them I say “You’re right, but what beautifully exquisite weeds.”  To you I say “Take it for whatever value it provides.” and I hope it provides you with some peace and tranquility if that is what you need.

Brigadoon Arch

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There are many mysteries in the mountains here in the west but none so intriguing and compelling as this one. It has always seemed strange to me that the horse tribes had such a short history. I don’t mean that they weren’t living on the plains and mountains for hundreds of years but that their glory days, when they had horses and rode proud and free, clothed in leather, carrying lances and bows, fighting with their enemies and living as Kings on this land seemed to be a very short time. That time of their life only seemed to last for decades, a very brief time that was captured by only a few artists, photographers and the memories of their people. Where did that spirit go? It has only been in the recent past that a small numbers of stories, legends if you will, began to emerge. They were always greeted with skepticism if not outright derision whenever they were told. Maybe because you only heard them in the bars and honky-tonks late in the evening and told by those who had had a few too many. The fact that they appeared to believe them with every fiber of their being, did little to keep them from being so easily discounted. The legend of course, is the story of Brigadoon arch.

The way it has been told is that every hundred years or so the Arch appears in the mountains just north of Jackson Hole not far from where their present day airport is located. The exact time it appears is not known nor is it known how long it is open, but when it is, there is the possibility that you, if you were brave enough, could hike up to it and pass through, and there you would find the lost horse tribes living as they always have, in their lodges made of buffalo skins, with their favorite ponies tied out front and the smoke from their campfires slowly spiraling up into the crisp morning air. There are occasionally, unexplained sightings of a string of lights winding down the mountainside late at night, torches perhaps, as some of the young braves trek down to the plains for a last buffalo hunt. One person told me, swearing it on an oath that can not be repeated here and sealed with a shot, that after seeing the lights one night he found pony tracks leading down to the river and nearby a dropped beaded pouch like the ones carried by Arapahoe Dog Soldiers when they were out raiding. Inside it, he said, was a freshly taken scalp barely cured. When asked if the pouch could be seen now he told me sadly that he had lost it in a poker game. It almost made him quit drinking he said, tearing up some, and he was no longer able to speak of it.

Think what you will, I for one, believe that there are things we can’t explain, things that will always remain a mystery. The arch wasn’t there the last time I went through so if you want to find out for yourself I guess you will just have to wait until the arch appears again and go and see for yourself. If it does appear and you are brave enough to enter I would brush up on my Lakota if I were you.

Things That Make You Go ‘Oh Man….’

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I think it is safe to say that there are sunsets and then there are sunsets. This is a sunset. One evening I was behind schedule trying to make it to Jackson before all the motel rooms were gone and I was having a tough time getting over Togwotee Pass because I kept stopping to shoot one thing or another. It was getting late, I was tired and rather than push in I stopped at the Togwotee overlook to drink some tea and have a sandwich.

There was thunder rolling in from the distance and a huge storm front was moving over the Tetons heading south. It was pretty dark and it didn’t look like there would be a photo op because the sun was setting faster then the storm was moving, but never say never in this business. Just as I was packing up the clouds broke and lifted enough that the sun could stream through the break and this is the result. It only lasted moments then the sun was gone and so was this view.

I have been through this area dozens of times since and have never seen another sunset like this. The Tetons themselves are so beautiful that you can’t imagine anything making them better, but every once in a while Mother Nature says “you ain’t seen nothing yet” and does something so spectacular you can’t believe you saw it. Photographers have a saying “Shoot it when you see it, it’s not likely to come around again”.