Photography And Half-Thoughts By Mitchell Hegman

...because some of it is pretty and some of it is not.

Friday, June 23, 2017

The Blue House

When we were small children we called the blue house just that, the blue house, and we ran past it without thought.
As we learned to ride bicycles, we plainly heard a man and a woman arguing in the house.  We began calling it the “shouting house” and we picked up the pace whenever we rode by.
One day, while learning to drive, I drove past the shouting house and saw police cars and swirling lights.
The shouting woman went to jail.  The house fell into disrepair.  Ragweed and mustard grew up alongside the outside walls.  The weeds scratched at the walls when the wind blew.  We renamed the place the “weed house.”  I stopped looking when I drove by.
The other day, I drove past the house.
The house is blue.

--Mitchell Hegman

Thursday, June 22, 2017

The Path

If what we become in life is based on what we do, I believe most of us are on the path to becoming cell phones.
--Mitchell Hegman

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Summer Love Song

By midday even the sun is brightly drinking from the creek.  Nearby, passing work trucks slow to a crawl and claw around the corner of the county road.  Dust from the trucks rises only a little before sieving through the shade trees like ghostly scarves.
At the deepest hole in the creek, not far away, children count: “One…two…three…JUMP!”
In a splash, they find the water painfully cold and good.
They prance back out of the creek as quickly as they jumped in.
Another truck rolls by.
The children jump in.

--Mitchell Hegman

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

X,Y,Z, and Sometimes V

Prescription drugs in these United States have more than one name.  As a general rule, a drug is given an official (generic) name as well as a brand (trademark) name.  These names are usually nothing alike.  For example, the drug generically known as eluxadoline is marketed under the trademark name VIBERZI.  This drug is used for the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome, which is far less science-fictiony (my term) than it sounds.
I find the naming of drugs fascinating.
The generic names given to drugs are virtual explosions of syllables.  These names tend to be long and filled with pronunciation potholes.  Often, such names are a shorthand version of the drug’s chemical name.  All generic names must be approved by (I am not making this up) the United States Adopted Names Council.  The drug you know as Tylenol, by way of illustration, has an approved generic name of acetaminophen. 
Giving a drug a brand name is another story entirely.  This name is usually proffered by the company responsible for developing the drug. Brand names are meant to be catchy.  In recent years, drug manufacturers have been marching clear to the end of the alphabet before naming new drugs.  The letters X, Y, Z, and sometimes V are often included in brand names.  Examples include: Xifaxan, Zyrtec, Zerviate and my all-time favorite, Xyzal.
In the end, all of these drugs can all be pronounced “ik’spensiv.”
Personally, I would prefer a more folksy approach to naming drugs.  I think a name such as “Clamp-Tight” is perfect for a drug that prevents diarrhea.  Maybe “Nervending” could be taken to cease anxiety.  In the meantime, we seem only months away from taking XYZ to cure something, maybe everything.

--Mitchell Hegman

Monday, June 19, 2017

What Would You Think if I Sang Out of Tune?

The other day, on our drive home from Glacier National Park, that girl and I listened to the Beatles Channel on Sirius XM Radio.  That girl cranked up the volume on Hello, Goodbye and While My Guitar Gently Weeps.  We sang along as high clouds flicked up and over the windshield of our car.   Wide, grassy scarps and endless green grain fields swelled as we neared them.  The mountains of the Rocky Mountain Front high-kicked and bucked along the horizon to our right.
“It’s so amazing I can remember the lyrics after all these years,” that girl commented.
I nodded in agreement.
Everything seemed fitting together as it should.
The Beatles are a singularity.  They are not a single season.  They are all seasons.
Funny, I should feel that way now.  I was seven when I first saw the Beatles playing I Want to Hold Your Hand on The Ed Sullivan show.  I immediately thought them silly and soapy.
I didn’t like them.
Honestly, I didn’t pay much attention to The Beatles for the first few years.  Then I heard Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.  That album—the first ever concept album—changed everything for me.  I began to listen, more importantly, to hear.
My love for the Beatles reaches back from that album and sprints forward from that album.  That is the nexus to all their music—traditional and experimental.
On we drove, the pair of us, under a sky that really is bigger than all others.  Singing along with the soapy songs and the surreal.  The hours somehow becoming only minutes.      

--Mitchell Hegman

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Two Medicine

In simple terms, elevation in Glacier National Park varies from a low of 3,150 feet where the Middle and North Forks of the Flathead River join together near Lake McDonald to 10,466 feet at the highest point of Mt. Cleveland.  But that only begins to tell the story.  Within the park you will find 6 peaks above 10,000 feet and some 32 mountains cresting above 9,100 feet.  Some of the most ancient sedimentary stone in North American can be found in Glacier National Park.  All told, 1.6 billion years of history can be read in the stone.  The story is one of sediment deposited by an ancient sea, sudden tectonic upheavals, and centuries of Ice Age glaciers carving deep valleys through the stone.
Today, the park is a place of sensory overload.  Masses of upheaved blocks of stone and sharp mountain peaks shred passing clouds or push them into high storms that stall and remain grappling with the stony formations.  Rivers and creeks roar as water somersaults down from the snowfields yet held at elevation.  Clear lakes reflect with mirror perfection.  This time of year, the air is perfumed by vast washes of ivory beargrass plumes.
I have never been able to “drive through” Glacier Park or the area surrounding.  My expeditions are, instead, comprised of a series of stops and brief wanderings from my car.  I try the impossible task of taking it all in.  To view.  To hear.  The feel.  To capture my experience within photographic images.
There exists, in my view, a level of scenic and spiritual beauty that cannot be exceeded.  Glacier Park is at that level.  Other places may reach that level (for example the redwood forests of California), but the level cannot be surpassed.
In a word: breathtaking.
Yesterday, that girl and I drove home by way of Marias Pass.  We stopped for lunch at Glacier Park Lodge in East Glacier and then diverted to Two Medicine before driving home under the big sky along the east side of the Rocky Mountain Front.  Posted are a few photographs from the day.

--Mitchell Hegman
Geologic information thanks to:

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Polebridge, Montana

Polebridge, Montana, is the last remote outpost before the dirt road that brought you there climbs into the lower belly of the Canadian wilderness some 22 miles to the north.  The town boasts a population of something near 130 in summer and about 70 during the winter.  Two businesses are located in Polebridge.  Since you are still in Montana, one business is the obligatory bar: The Northern Lights Saloon (a simple log cabin).  The other business is Polebridge Mercantile.
That’s about it.
The Mercantile is just a bit over 100 years old.  Not much has changed in the last 100 years.  The “town” remains off grid.  You will not find cell service and, to date, no power lines have made their way in.   The limited power used by the business are provided by generators and, more recently, solar PV systems.
The mercantile bakes pastries that are to die for.   Sweets produced with the local bounty of huckleberries are most noteworthy.
The landscape around Polebridge is indescribably beautiful.  The tiny town is cradled between the heavily timbered Whitefish Range and the sharp and improbable stone peaks of Glacier National Park.  The North Fork of Flathead River runs big, fast, and aquamarine through the crooked valley between the mountains.
Yesterday, that girl and I drove to Polebridge and then drove on from there to the super-remote Bowman Lake and Kintla Lake inside Glacier.  Though the roads are rugged and unpaved, the trip is well worth the drive.  Posted today are some photographs from our day trip to Polebridge and beyond.
--Mitchell Hegman