Photography And Half-Thoughts By Mitchell Hegman

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

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Recent Observations

—From a great distance, the calling of sandhill cranes sounds like people chanting.
—Sadness must be dragged along.  Happiness carries you.
—Few things are more unnerving than an absolutely still forest.
—The word “stuff,” though common and indefinite, has become my new favorite word.  It is a word with towering possibilities.  It is a blank wanting to be filled.  If I say “good stuff” in a room filled with twenty people, twenty different images of “good stuff” will appear in the room.

--Mitchell Hegman

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Something I Had To Do

Yesterday, at about 1:00 in the afternoon, I did something I had to do.
I had to stand on mountainside of mixed timber and sunshine, in a cooling breeze faintly scented by huckleberries.
I had to stand there and watch a small white moth lift from the broad leaf of a thimbleberry, tumble off through the green understory, and then dissolve in the arresting light of a small clearing.
If not me, who?

--Mitchell Hegman

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

If You See That Girl, Please Send Her Home

Going through whole days alone changes me.  More accurately, wounds me.  I imagine my belly growing exponentially.  Helicopters fly closer to my house than they should.  If the Smurfs appear on television, I watch them.  I turn up music and sing along so poorly, my 20 pounds of housecat considers sauntering off to watch the old episodes of Gunsmoke in the spare bedroom.
I returned from Ohio by myself late last Wednesday night and have been spending whole days alone since.
The flight into Bozeman was interesting because I met a know-it-all couple from Virginia.  They quickly insisted I was wrong about Mount St Helens erupting in 1980.  I was, they similarly asserted, incorrect in identifying the old man who refused to leave Spirit Lake (and died in the eruption) as a certain Harry Truman.
“That’s close,” the wife insisted, “but that’s not his name.”
I freely admit I am a full-blown dumbass with a poor memory.  I therefore shrugged off Harry and the volcano.  But our conversation became slightly disturbing when the subject turned to lightning—spurred by a fierce lightning storm brawling inside a brooding cloudscape within arm’s reach of our jetliner.
The husband informed me that their house had been struck by lightning. 
Bad electrical stuff happened when the lightning flashed through their house.  Appliances popped apart.  Smoke emerged from wiring.
He then went on to tell me about how corrupt the practice of grounding a house is.  Apparently, according to some inspector dude he personally knows, grounding your house makes your home a lightning strike target.  Just the opposite of what all our electrical Codes suggest!
“That’s amazing!” I said.
I pretty much kept to myself after the lightning discussion.
And now I’m home alone.
That girl will not be flying home until the fifth of August.  That’s a lot of time for watching the Smurfs.  I’m not sure my cat is up to it.  I know that girl worries about what I eat while I am foraging for myself, but I'm more worried I might take up slam dancing with the walls in my house.
I’m wondering if I should run outside with a screwdriver and disconnect the grounding electrode connection at my electrical service.  I also picked up a new poetry book, which is always a little dangerous.

--Mitchell Hegman

Monday, July 24, 2017


Sometimes I didn’t fully appreciate gifts given to me by my late wife.  The most glaring example of this is how I reacted when she gave me—on advice from my friend Bill—a power miter saw for my birthday.
I think my exact words to Uyen after she gave me the saw were something like: “What do I need this for?”
That was thirty years ago.
Turns out, I needed the saw to build a garage, remodel a basement, construct a new house, build a cabin, and finish countless smaller projects.  I used the miter saw again just yesterday while working on my cabin’s bathroom.
About ten years ago, Uyen gave me a small clearance-sale toolkit she’d found at a hardware store.  “This might be good to keep at the cabin,” she suggested.
I didn’t think much of the toolkit.
For the last fourteen years, ever since I started building the cabin, I have been dragging tools back and forth between my home and the cabin.  During the last ten years, the cheapo toolkit sat collecting dust on a shelf alongside cans and boxes of screws and nails in the basement of the cabin.
Yesterday, I needed a small Phillips screwdriver to finish installing a venting van, but had neglected to toss one in my truck before I headed to the cabin. 
I’m not sure I can accurately describe my sentiments as I tromped down the stairs to retrieve the toolkit.  My emotions rushed from one end of the spectrum to the other.  I leapt from frustration and anger (in not having a tool I needed) to bittersweet gratitude when I unzipped the kit and found exactly what I needed.
I had to fight back tears.
I am six years beyond the ability to thank Uyen.

--Mitchell Hegman

Sunday, July 23, 2017


We had our choice.
Cling to the rock
or cling to the vine.
The rock: sharp-edged, crumbling at the edges, difficult to grasp.
The vine: pliant, easy to grasp.
I remembered then—who knows why—the fall of Rome was a process of decline.
The Romans had gone soft
with Vandals and Goths at the door.
It required years of mistakes to fail.
Our choice seemed natural.
We could dye our hair black
and wear black clothing.
Grab the rock.
--Mitchell Hegman

Saturday, July 22, 2017


At the end of a long night of sitting near a campfire, as you stir the final embers with a stick, you should realize that your time at the fire has softened a few hard edges in your thinking.  If this is not so, throw another log on the fire and try again.
--Mitchell Hegman

Friday, July 21, 2017

My Two Left Feet

Somebody came up with a clever idea for idiots such as me.  The idea is this: pairs of socks marked with “R” for the right foot and “L” for the left foot.  With such socks, no matter your level of dress dysfunction (mine is severe), you should not be able to screw-up.
First, if you pair socks with letters embossed on them you will have matching socks by default.  Additionally, you will have the added benefit of a proper left and right fit.
Well, in theory, that is. 
Sadly, left and right feet have met their mis-match in me…
I give you, as exhibit number one, a photograph of my feet after I finished dressing this morning.

--Mitchell Hegman