Photography And Half-Thoughts By Mitchell Hegman

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

Monday, October 23, 2017


Somewhere between my reptilian brain and the lobe of my brain that prompts me to open doors for other people, I have a part that loves total destruction.  It’s not easy for me to admit this, but I sometimes sit alone on my sofa, squealing, pounding my fists against the cushions, and flopping around as I watch competitions where one combatant rips into another and literally tears away chucks.
Only total annihilation will do.
I’m talking about BattleBots.  Fighting robots.  Machines that come at each other with kill saws, flamethrowers, drum spinners, flipping arms, and giant hammers.
The fury is undeniable.  Flying sparks.  Smoke.  Whirring blades.  The screams of metal meeting metal.
Naturally, that girl would rather watch house flippers or watch a romantic comedy.
I am on my own with this television production.  I have, therefore, taken to recording BattleBots so I can binge-watch three or four episodes in a row when I am left alone.
My 20 pounds of housecat has learned to hide under the clothes dryer when he hears from my television “It’s robot fightin’ time!”  I don’t think it’s the robot fighting that bothers my cat as much as my shrieking and bouncing about as I watch machines battle to their own end.

--Mitchell Hegman

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Hunting Camp

The pages of your poetry book melt in your hands
as you read aloud the poems you’ve read a thousand times before.
The other hunters grimaced when they saw you’d brought your book
and not a blued rifle, not a single round of ammunition to hunting camp.
They disbersed at first ruddy blush of light, rifles in hand.
Up into honey-colored parks where antlered bulls clash
but whistle like flightless birds.

You remain at camp,
feeding gathered sticks into a woodstove inside the wall tent.
The sides of the tent ripple and glow with full light.
Far above, in thick stands of pines gnashing together in the northwind,
elk have turned into ghosts and whisked away.

Inside your book, on one page,
a man rides a roan horse off through green sage. 
On another page, a woman with red hair returns to a battered lover.
Everyone, from beginning to end, hunting.

--Mitchell Hegman

Friday, October 20, 2017

The Way Back

Today, I am posting photographs from various points along our drive from the Canadian border back down to Helena.  That girl and I could not have asked for a better day.  The temperature eventually reached into the seventies and the high clouds never erased the blue sky.
At Great Falls, we diverted to the frontage road and began looping alongside the Missouri River where it uncoils amid cottonwood trees, wild rose, and tall grass after having carved through the stony Big Belt Mountains.
We stopped at several fishing access points so we could rake our fingers through the waters of the river.  We also stopped at Tower Rock State Park and took a half mile hike up into the volcanic fortifications of another time.
Note in one photograph, that girl standing at the base of a giant cottonwood tree—a tree that is obviously many hundreds of years old.  Also note the tiny deer standing against the sky alongside the stone turrets at Tower Rock State Park. 

--Mitchell Hegman

Thursday, October 19, 2017

To Canada and Back in One Day

Today, that girl and I are driving to tiny and out-of-the way Sweet Grass, Montana on the Canadian border.  Located three hours directly north of us on I-15, Sweet Grass, population 58ish, is not even a real town.  According to Wikipedia, Sweet Grass is a “census-designated place” and an “unincorporated community.”
On the other side of the border from Sweet Grass, six inches away, is Coutts, Alberta, Canada, another non-place.  At Coutts, the interstate takes two crazy turns and becomes Canadian Highway 4.
Other than that, all around for a gazillion miles, is empty Great Plains and squared fields.
The Facebook page for Sweet Grass, when I looked, listed two things to do there. One: attend a community pot luck.  Two: flip a U-turn and go back home.  I am kidding, of course, the pot luck is pretty much the only thing listed.  That will be occurring at 6:00 on Saturday, if you are interested.
Strangely enough, that girl and I have a damned good reason to go to Sweet Grass.  Montana being Montana, the border crossing at lil’ ol’ Sweet Grass is the nearest place we can go to meet with an authorized customs agent to interview and complete the process for acquiring a Global Entry Pass.  Such a pass will expedite our passage through TSA security at all airports.
So that’s it.  Off we go at five-something this morning.  Sweet Grass or bust.

--Mitchell Hegman

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Suffering From a Lack of Imagination

Sidney tried to convince Natalie that her fear of paperclips was irrational.  “Think about it,” he told her, “They are paperclips.  They hold papers together.  What’s to fear in that?”
“They are always turning up in the wrong places,” Natalie pleaded.
Sidney lacked the imagination required to see a paperclip doing anything beyond clasping loose papers together.  He could not fathom when she meant by ‘turning up in the wrong places.’
Then, early one morning in October, as Sidney flew his Piper Cub airplane over an expanse of ocean, the engine suddenly seized.  The plane immediately began to plummet toward the waves shuffling whitely across the water below.  Stunned, Sidney scanned the gauges of his instrument panel, as he had done regularly since taking off from the airport.  Recently, a mechanic had recalibrated all of the instruments. Only on this scan, as his plane spiraled down, did he notice the paperclip lodged against the needle of the oil pressure gauge, falsely holding the needle to point at normal pressure.

--Mitchell Hegman

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Sticky Note Rationing

Well, it has finally happened.  I have officially been placed under a strict sticky note rationing program by the local authority having jurisdiction (formerly known as that girl).
I will admit to slightly heavier than normal use of sticky notes.  I have an innate need to compile lists, jot down important dates, and extend myself reminders.  I recently wrote about this.
Not long after waking and pouring herself a cup of coffee yesterday morning, that girl sat at the kitchen breakfast bar and began scouring through a swell of sticky notes splayed across the countertop.  She was seeking a note she had written to herself a few days ago.  As luck would have it, she found, instead, a flurry of notes I and Geddy Parker had assembled while estimating the cost of the electrical system for an upcoming construction project.
I will admit, we generated a few notes.
After flipping over three or four notes and setting aside several others, that girl said: “Okay, that does it.  I am going to have to start rationing sticky note pads to you.”  She then split in half a nearby sticky note pad and handed half to me, laughing.  “Here you go.  You can use these for now.  We can talk about more when those are gone.”

--Mitchell Hegman