Photography And Half-Thoughts By Mitchell Hegman

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

Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year’s Resolution

I, MITCHELL GEORGE HEGMAN, of the planet Earth, state of Confusion, do hereby make, publish and declare this to be my New Year’s Resolution, hereby, thereby, ____________ (fill in the blank-by), revoking (at least violating) my prior Resolutions and Better Intentions.
I declare that I am of sound mind, with the possible irrational exception of, on occasion, intentionally trotting around the inside of my dwelling wearing only a single black sock on my left foot (while otherwise nude), at the end of a long muddy road within low hills filled with sage and juniper; and that I have one white sock and a Led Zeppelin hoodie from a previous life.  The word “hoodie” as used in this will mean Led Zeppelin, the rock band, not a big, fat cigar-shaped dirigible.  The word “kogic,” if used, shall be ignored as I was probably attempting to write “logic” but tapped the wrong key.
A.    I RESOLVE TO, from the 1st day of January until the 31st day of March, step outside and listen the lake-ice moan and cry at least once each evening and try to interpret the sounds as if they were communication songs as sung by blue whales.  I FURTHER RESOLVE TO determine how to interpret blue whale songs.

B.     I RESOLVE TO employ only kogic and not emotion in relationships in which finances or twice-baked beans are involved.

C.     I RESOLVE TO find one of those “Mean People Suck” bumper stickers and affix said sticker to my Chevrolet automobile.

D.    I RESOLVE TO determine why capital letters are so overused in legal documents.

E.     I RESOLVE TO live a little each day.
This instrument shall be construed under the Third Law of Thermodynamics and shall, therefore, allow for diminishing application in accordance relative temperatures, etc.
IN WITLESSNESS WHEREOF, I MITCHELL GEORGE HEGMAN, the testator, sign my name to this instrument on this ______ day of __________________, and being first duly sworn, do hereby, whereby, nearby declare that I sign this, after having imbibed a glass of Scotch and eaten king crab, willingly, and that I execute this instrument as my free and voluntary act and that I am 50 + 5 years of age, reasonably good-looking, not particularly sane, hairy in all the wrong places, fond of vinegar, and probably unwilling to abide by any of the aforementioned ARTICLES.

--Mitchell Hegman

Friday, December 30, 2011

Thursday, December 29, 2011


I am now convinced that I have a very lazy thought process so far as emotions and relationships are concerned.  I don’t go out of my way to find traits that annoy me about other people.  I don’t compile mental lists of transgressions and carry them with me everywhere I go. I don’t expend much energy devising sharp responses to barbs thrown in my direction.  I try to always judge my own reaction to a negative input before I judge the person pressing the input button—the data within me is much easier to access and then process.  I simply try to ignore character flaws that might regularly surface in people around me; I am fully occupied with controlling my own and don’t need to work on those belonging to others.  If someone uses a word incorrectly or uses an expression improperly, but I fully understand their meaning, I don’t waste my time correcting them.  I try to have only a single argument about a single issue.  As a general rule, embracing people and treating everyone the same, strikes me as much less taxing than creating spectrum of my own behaviors based on an equally complicated menu of agendas and yardsticks I am forced to maintain.    
I am lazy.
Often, though, I am happy.
--Mitchell Hegman      

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Transverse Myelitis Forum

Today marks what would have been my wedding anniversary, had my wife survived the cancer that ultimately took her.  Thinking about her and curious about what I might find, I conducted a Google internet search using only her name: “Uyen Hegman.”  The very first hit was from a forum on the Transverse Myelitis Foundation Association webpages.  The forum entries I found (shown below) are from April of 2008.  The first is Uyen’s original post to the forum.  The next posts are self-explanatory.  In a way Uyen’s transverse myelitis came to define her.  Obviously, the internet thinks so… 

Uyen Hegman (Original Post):
My name is Uyen Hegman. I live in Helena, Montana. I have TM since
1996. It's been a long hall for me. I was paralyzed from the neck
down for about 4 months when I first got TM. Now I can walk with a
can. I still have all the symptoms of TM: fatigue, pain, depression,
you name it! I just got laid off from the Post Office where I've
been working for 15 years!

I always like to make pretty things with my own hands. I just open a
web store to sell my handcrafts. I contacted Jim Lubin to set up an
announcement about donating 10% of my sale proceeds to TMA.
Please take a look at my shop:
There is so much research needed to find the cure for TM and any help
you can do to raise fund for this cause is greatly appreciated!
Thanks again,

A….. J….. (Question Posed to Uyen)
hi uyen
do u face any urinary disorder. m use cathter 2 paas urine.

Uyen Hegman (Answer):
No, I have normal bladder function. When I first got sick in 1996, I
had to use the cath for about 4 months. Then one day I thought may be
I should try to pass the urine. Well, it was kinda funny, it did a
little bit, embarrassing to say. I called my doctor, she said to "
try to stimulate my private part a little to encourage the nerve" . I
did and passed urine a little more. Now I'm O.K.
How long since you have TM? For what I understand with a lot of
reading about TM, Patient usually improves with time. Don't give up

A….. J….. (Question Posed to Uyen)
m suffring TM from last 4 year. now wts ur condition.
which type of prblm u face in ur life. i cant sex also. m 21 year old thats
y m afraid wen i think abt my future. sorry my english is nit good. i hope u
can understand wt u want

Uyen Hegman (Answer):
You may want to check the TM forum. Go to On the
main page, there are different topics you can read about TM on the
left hand column. I hope you'll get better!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Dream of a River Flowing on a Wooden Riverbed

I woke this morning from a dream about a river flowing on a wooden riverbed.  The river, elevated above the hard-pack ground on beams and stilts, flowed along a smooth and perfectly flat surface constructed of hardwood laminates with sturdy railings at each side—a kind of monstrous flume.  I found myself on a stretch of this river as the water dropped through a series of slight inclines and transitions amid an industrial complex of some sort.  The river’s construction reminded me of a roller-coaster except for the sharp, angular (M. C. Escher) turns and transitions. 
I did not know the name of this river, though, intuitively, I knew that I had a job to do.  My job was to bring fish back to this river.  More specifically, I needed to line the absurdly smooth riverbed with rocks so that fish might take to it.  Soon enough, I found myself wading out into the clear water, which reached up to my knees.  Standing there at the center of the gym-floored river, I began to direct cranes as they boomed in clam-shell buckets of yellow, grey, and pink stones and carefully deposited the rocks in water all around me.  As I swung around to direct a new crane to fill-in a bare spot in the river, I realized that grandstands had been constructed along one transition in the river.  People were watching me work.  Although the bleachers were not completely filled with people, those folks in attendance observed progress with keen interest.  The cranes squeaked and squealed as they swung in and out over the river.  And soon the river began to sound like a river as riffles appeared where the stones lined the bottom at my direction.  People ate popcorn and drank from tall plastic cups as they watched.
At once, I awakened to silence.
Now only a river of silence and darkness around me.  All else gone.  Without a sound, I felt I might drown.  And then Roxie, my small girl-cat, appeared in the bedding near my face.  Purring loudly, she nuzzled against my cheek.  I reached out and massaged her head, which, on the inside, felt firm and blunted and shaped like an apple, but on the outside felt warm and soft. 
A new day.
Out of the river and into the warm and soft of a new day.

--Mitchell Hegman

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Scotch Whisky

Christmas morning.  I came awake in the deepest part of the long night, craving a drink of Glenlivet Scotch.  The first sip of Scotch whiskey always tastes like the view of a seaside mountain where red horses gallop right through a flock of white sheep, scattering them across a green pasture.  The second sip of Scotch tastes like a tall wooden ship put to the sea in the early swells preceding a summer storm.  The third sip makes you invincible and you can walk right across the ocean and see whatever the hell you want. 
Gauging that I was something near four hours from sunrise, I realized that drinking might be a bad idea.  My daughter, home from New York, would not be pleased to find me sprawled on my sofa with a tumbler in hand and invincibly spouting gibberish upon her waking in the morning.
Invincible people can be so obnoxious.  They often make a pretty huge mess and, on occasion, invincible people have been known to burn toast.
Opting out of an early boozy start to the holiday, I climbed out of bed, fed the cats, and then flopped onto the sofa.  Two of the cats soon joined me and, swishing our tails, we watched the blackened television screen.  Pretty soon I started thinking…maybe, just before sunrise, if we each had only a single sip of Glenlivet, me and the cats…
Merry Christmas, dammit.
--Mitchell Hegman 

Friday, December 23, 2011

Advice (For Jana)

If a rainbow should fall across your face, please don’t brush it aside.

When a ray of sun finds your arm, step full into the light so that we might see you.
Gather together the Shasta daisies and the children—they should always be thus composed.
Wear only green when you feel a little blue.
Close your eyes when you say something important or when you listen.
Speak softly when you first come awake in your bed.
Eat Asian pears for breakfast and lunch.  Feast on anise and red wine at night.
Step lightly through fresh snow.  Dance crunchingly through fallen leaves of mountain ash.
When you reach a path where looking ahead seems nearly the same as looking back, you have reached the place where you are meant to be.

--Mitchell Hegman

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Purple of Night

I wake late in the purple and bruised part of night.  My arms and legs have turned into cold clay and refuse to lift.  Moonlight spills liquid and heavy as mercury through the narrow slits of my bedroom window blinds.  Night without a single sound or scent.  But somehow I know…my dead mother is there…
--Mitchell Hegman

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


The last pair of woman’s shoes has been removed from beside the back door.  The last dainty white coat has been cleared from the closet.  Two bottles of red wine left for me.  Tomorrow the Winter Solstice and the shortest day of the year.  Nobody I knew in the obituaries.  My propane tank freshly filled and a bill for that yet to be paid.  Two of my cats—the boys—fighting in the den. One expired boxelder bug upside-down on the kitchen floor.  A fresh kitchen towel draped on the oven door handle.  My stack of Christmas cards read, reread, squared on the dining table runner.  Three out of the four retrofit compact fluorescent lamps pulsing in the paddle-fan’s fixture head.  Troops home from Iraq.  A little girl surviving her bout with cancer.  Love and hate together in most corners.  My midget Christmas tree now over-decorated with a dozen absurdly huge ornaments and looking like a fish stringer filled with exotic tropical specimens.  Orion tipped a bit sideways in the predawn sky.  New snow on the drive.  Just me and me and some potted plants sitting here.
Just me.

--Mitchell Hegman

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Monday, December 19, 2011

Without a Sound

A water glass filled to the brim.
A riverbed emptied of water but filled with bald stones.
A full rainbow arch uprighted over the sage and juniper hills.
The tracks of a mountain lion crossing and then following the tracks of a deer in the snow.

A single hand settling on your shoulder.

A sapphire sky darkening with low clouds.
The scent of fine perfume from Iraq.
The vibrations of a heart deep under the skin.
You know without a sound what these mean.

--Mitchell Hegman

Sunday, December 18, 2011


Photo taken on December 17, 2011 at the Great Divide ski area (with a pocket camera).

 --Mitchell Hegman  

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Raynaud’s Syndrome

As a younger man, I fully subscribed to the China syndrome, the fear that a loss of coolant in a nuclear reactor might lead to catastrophic core meltdown in a nuclear reactor.  The hyperbolic extension of this scenario envisioned that the reactor’s fuel rods would all melt together in an unregulated and molten reaction and then drop right through the earth beginning at, say, Blue Rapids, Kansas and burn a hole right through the Earth until reaching some unpronounceable town in China.  Someplace along the line, a movie called The China Syndrome, starring Jack Lemmon, Michael Douglas, and Jane Fonda, hit the screens, with a slightly less exaggerated nuclear reactor accident.  I don’t recall much about the movie now.
I have, at this later stage of life, swapped the far-fetched China syndrome for a more practical model called Raynaud’s syndrome.  In this later malady, instead of a molten core of highly radioactive material burning gigantic hole right through the planet, my fingers get numb and turn white as new copier paper.  I am not sure this is a fair trade.  For one thing, I don’t see any famous actors lining-up to play a role in a drama based upon my fingers tingling a little.
Well, there was that one movie: Attack of the Killer Tomatoes.  No time for that here.
My Raynaud’s is typically triggered by cold.  Gripping something cold, as example, a steering wheel, snow shovel, or hand tool, will rapidly cause the onset of Raynaud’s syndrome.  Essentially, the body reacts to the input of cold by shutting down the flow of blood to your extremities.  Yesterday, I stepped outside and flung a few scoops of snow from in front of my garage door.  Though having spent only two or three minutes out there, in temperatures in the upper thirties, the fingers on both of my hands went entirely numb and grew white as snowcapped mountains.  Forced back inside, I shoved my hands under the bathroom faucet and ran warm water over my fingers until blood flow returned and color and feeling flooded back to the tips again.
I am wondering now if this more practical, reality-based syndrome is any better than those exaggerated and then adapted for cinema.  And I am certainly open for a movie adaptation providing a way might be determined to write Salma Hayek or Jessica Alba into the plot.
--Mitchell Hegman

Friday, December 16, 2011

Best Medicine

Laughter is the best medicine…unless you are trying to remove genital warts, in which case you may consider salicylic acid and pumice stone.
--Mitchell Hegman

Thursday, December 15, 2011


If you consistently change your mind, are you by definition consistent?
--Mitchell Hegman

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Another Favorite Quote

“You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.”

--Mae West

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


Playing badminton professionally is probably the very best way to assure that you will never become famous.  Badminton is a sport that involves rackets, a net, and a shuttlecock.  The basic premise of the game is to smack the shuttlecock—which, incidentally, looks like the ass of some sort of bird—back and forth over the net.  Scoring is also a part of the game.

Badminton is best played while wearing clothing, mostly for the sake of those watching.  The game is typically played indoors on a rectangular court, and there are strict rules governing the conduct of the players.  As example, badminton players are not allowed to spit on opposing players or discharge a firearm in their direction.  Firing a pistol in the air, though not specifically prohibited, is considered a form of poor sportsmanship.   A badminton game is similar to tennis with the notable exception that the players wear much cheaper sportswear.  The game ends at a score of 21, but usually nobody pays much attention to how the score got there.  A match will consist of 3 games.

Apparently, doping has become a huge problem in the badminton community.  This may be a result of boredom rather than hopes of enhancing performance.   Finding a decent badminton coach may also be a problem since interest in the sport tends to decline as people find need to secure actual jobs.  Another problem might be determining the appropriate worker’s compensation rate. 

Badminton leagues and tournaments are generally conducted in larger metropolitan areas where other questionable lifestyles tend to thrive.  Badminton, finally, is an Olympic sport.  Tickets are available.

--Mitchell Hegman        

Monday, December 12, 2011

Saturday, December 10, 2011


Warrior seeking employment as ravager and pillager or possible dishwasher.  Willing to work for minimum wage if sack lunch is provided.
--Mitchell Hegman

Friday, December 9, 2011

Sun Dog, December 8, 2011

Sun dogs are atmospheric displays that appear only in very specific conditions.  They are also called a parhelion, in scientific terminology, or are sometimes called a mock sun.  The sun dog halo, appearing at 22ยบ around the sun, is the result of light refracted by small hexagonal ice crystals suspended high in the atmosphere.  Sun dogs are often fringed with rainbow arcs held apart as if by invisible hands on arms outstretched from the sun.  Often, only a part of the halo will appear in the sky above the sun.  On some occasions, as in the case of yesterday when I snapped this photograph near Great Falls, Montana, the halo will encircle the entire sun in spectacular fashion.

--Mitchell Hegman

Thursday, December 8, 2011

As I Sit Here (Stream of Consciousness)

I woke at 3:41 in the morning, fed the cats, washed my hair in the kitchen sink, coffeed myself, and exercised a bit.  The boiler in my home maintains seventy degrees in the living room and sixty-nine degrees in my bedroom.  I have a fake Christmas tree that is not tall enough to reach my waist.  At present, I have a single ornament dangling from the bottom branches of the tree.  The ornament is ugly—two Christmasy peas in a stocking pod.

I like the ornament because I feel sorry for it.
I have a little money in the stock market, but the stock market has been flopping around like a trout thrown down in the riverside grass.  Some days I have more money in the market than others.  Everyone says: “The losses are all on paper…you are fine as long as you pull your money out when the market is trending up.”
Where is up? 
I have stopped going to the windows to watch whenever a helicopter whunka-whunks overtop my home.  I am not sure why I no longer care about them, but I don’t care.  Reggae music still spurs me to wriggle and jive.  My new favorite made-up word is ‘yessy.’  In a sentence, the word might be used like this: “She felt totally yessy inside after winning the lottery.”
I understand that all I see and all that I feel is transitory.  I know why newborns grasp at the air.  I can close my eyes and see anything I desire.  Driving through Montana makes me want to always stay here.  I now consider each day like a complete apartment in a huge apartment complex.  I am ready for what comes next.
--Mitchell Hegman        

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


Whether we evolved from a band of squat fruit and nut gatherers, that occupied the Middle Awash of Ethiopia 4 million years ago, or were god-made only 20 minutes before we walked into the grocery store to purchase beer and salsa, matters not a whit when the power drops out on the check-out line and the young woman behind the cash register (with purple hair and a thorny-nest tattoo on her neck) cannot figure out how to make change from $15.00 on a purchase that totals $14.96.

--Mitchell Hegman    

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Upper Blackfoot River

Winter!  Photos I snapped from the bridge on my way to my cabin.

--Mitchell Hegman

Monday, December 5, 2011

If it Waddles Like a Duck

If it waddles like a duck and quacks like a duck, but is not near a pond, you may consider asking if it needs a ride home because it is more than likely my friend Mark and he has fallen off the wagon.  He never could hold his liquor worth a damn.
--Mitchell Hegman

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Rules of Engagement

A woman needs a man so he can button-up her dress.   A man needs a woman so he can un-button her dress.

--Mitchell Hegman

Friday, December 2, 2011

The Last Days of November

The Missouri River--captured by me while standing alongside the Interstate on my way to Great Falls.

--Mitchell Hegman

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Mood Check

Everyone deserves:
(Please select a single answer from the menu below to complete your thought)
      ·         Clean water
·         A kiss

·         Affordable health insurance

·         Heartache now and then

·         Sunlight

·         A chance to fail

·         Darkness

·         A chance to succeed

·         A decorative cactus

·         A friend who is willing to hold the other end of a board you are cutting

·         _______________________ (fill in the blank)

--Mitchell Hegman

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Wives’ Tale versus Fact

The quickest way to a man’s heart is not through his stomach.  The quickest way to a man’s heart is through a rather substantial hole in his chest.

--Mitchell Hegman

Monday, November 28, 2011

A Place

I like a place where the railroad tracks dead-end and a single yellow dog sits there waiting for absolutely nothing to happen.   What do you like?

--Mitchell Hegman

Saturday, November 26, 2011


Yesterday, as I drove home, the sky fell on me.  Curtains of snow descended over the long rows of mountains around me and white clouds swept against my face like clothesline scarves. The wind shouldered at my car and murmured nonsense in my ear.
I am no longer fearful of storms—not as I was when a small boy.  My fear now is that I will eventually find myself standing at the last bridge that crosses the river with only my shadow at my side.  Is this a rational fear?  How hard need I work to keep such a fear alive?

I am without answers.

We had our discussion.  Our children leaving for places we cannot find on a map.  The wounded and the quick under one God.  Some of the sick, angry.  Some of the sick uplifting themselves.  Money.  Love, only with time.  Honesty, the most precious.

I left you standing there in your alley with powerlines swaying in the air above you and the scent of wet leaves.  We waved at each other as I drove away. 

I swear to you, Jana, it does not hurt when you allow the sky to fall on you.       

 --Mitchell Hegman

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


We are not still.  We are not.  And nothing around us is stationary.  Inside an empty box, the air is alive and always circulating.  Deep in the earth under our feet, water squeezes between fissures and creates unseen rivers.  Below that, a molten core ebbs and swells, fingers at anything within reach.   Even the simple brown stones resting on the plain are alive with motion.  Inside them, atoms are a dither with activity, madly hula-hooping electrons about their core.  The chaos is dizzying.  If you managed to fall inside the brown stone, surely you would end up battered and squeezed through the crazy machinery like Charlie Chaplin through the gears of his factory in Modern Times.

Did you think the stones silent?

Inside is a din!  Imagine the sound of a bag of marbles kicked open on a hardwood floor.  Imagine a snare-drum bouncing down the stairs.

Perhaps you are not small enough to imagine this.  If so, then think big.  The stone is flinging about in the unceasing Earthly orbit, flung ahead and slightly wobbling as it clings fast to the surface with all the greed provided by gravity, which is never want to release anything from its grasp.  Spiraling around a single star, expanding across the universe, the stone carries on.

We, too, are complex and about to burst, even when standing stock-still beside the brown stones on the plain.  Inside, we are filled with hydraulics and mechanical levers and mushy gears and the ultimately more finicky pulses of emotion.  On our skin and within the puzzlework of vital organs, cells nudge at one another.   Fluids circulate.  We take in air.  Process food.  We are sentient and swift.

We are born into motion.  We are born to dance.

(For Kip  Thank you for the conversations!)

--Mitchell Hegman 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Wall Street Banking

Basic premise:  It is okay to fall down, providing you are leveraged in such a manner that you will fall on somebody else’s ass, rather than your own.

--Mitchell Hegman

Monday, November 21, 2011

Uncommon Sense

We have unrung the steeple’s bell And pushed the unstrung rope back up the hill.
We have unboxed the outside
And found center of the end.
We have stripped bare the empty
And retrieved all that we never released.
At this new end, we begin.

--Mitchell Hegman

Sunday, November 20, 2011

New Ice

A photograph of crystals formed on the surface of new ice.  I snapped the photo on November 20, 2011 at the Helena Valley Holding Reservoir.

--Mitchell Hegman

Friday, November 18, 2011

“Play is the beginning of knowledge.” —Plato

Jana, my dear philosopher, you surprised me by quoting Plato so freely.  I remember of Plato merely that he said something important, but have dropped the critical details someplace behind me.  Alongside Plato, in my mind, is a blank wall.

 Well, in truth, my mind is mostly open space, rather like one of those pastures you see where too many horses have over-grazed and left bare ground that surrenders clouds of dust whenever the wind blows.  Not much going on there.  The horses all hunkered in the fence corner with their eyes shut.

Though not opposed to philosophers, I suspect I am simple-minded enough that I don’t need one of them confusing me by informing me that my doing something nice for another person is the result of some kind of “ism,” such as objectivism or moral absolutism, which, by the way, requires six-hundred pages of breathless explanation.

Sometimes I feel good by doing something nice for somebody else.  That’s all. 

I must tell you about last night.  As I floated in the warm water below the nightsky—the way I do each evening in my hot tub—the sparkling firmament descended closer to me than ever.  I swear to you, I reached out of the rising steam with both of my arms and swept right through the stars with my open fingers.  And the stars felt like diamonds and sapphires as I brushed through them.  They twinkled brighter after I touched them.

New word: starplay. 

Any kind of play is good, right?

Jana, did Plato say anything about the stars?  If so, please tell me what he said.  I have forgotten.

--Mitchell Hegman 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

A Single Change

I am a bit unsure about the mechanics that might be required, but would like to make a single (ever so slight) change to the general function of our world.  I would like to have crows and magpies help bees in making honey.  Just that.

--Mitchell Hegman

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Beside Me

Sometimes, with my eye always seeking the beauty of nature in my photography, I miss beauty right there beside me.  As example, this photograph of my daughter standing with me, taken in Knoxville, Tennessee three years ago. 

--Mitchell Hegman

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Last Night

Last night, I saw a falling star blaze right through the Big Dipper as I sat in my hot tub gazing up at the Milky Way dangling there above me.  Only ten miles or so across the valley, my sister peered out her window, finding a fierce snow squall whitely merry-go-rounding her house.  A thousand miles south of that, Jana found a single bright star captured within a hole in the lavender clouds.  Across the oceans, my daughter turned a new age. 

Last night.

--Mitchell Hegman 

Monday, November 14, 2011

Horses and Sky

Photo taken on November 13, 2011 near my mailbox.

--Mitchell Hegman

Sunday, November 13, 2011

After Listening to Adele

Love is not everything, but probably love is more important than changing the oil in your car at exactly three-thousand miles.

--Mitchell Hegman

Saturday, November 12, 2011

A Few More Important Questions

  • Is it preferable to fall in love by accident or to do so by working at it?
  • When is the name you have given a kind of flower more important than the scientific name?
  • If whims push new clouds across the sky and sadness pulls at the waters, what lifts the moon and sun from the standpoint of a poet?
  • Is a pine tree growing out from the cracks of a limestone cliff superior to the cottonwood clamped to the soft loam beside a constant stream?
  • Do you see the difference between laborers and doctors in degrees?
  • Do you think money makes a person better-looking?
  • Do you pick-up pennies when you chance upon them on a sidewalk?  If not, at what age did you stop doing so?
  • Has anyone ever gifted you a live animal?  If so, how much did the animal weigh?
  • Do you consider the ability to perceive when someone is deceiving you a gift?
  • Is deception the same as an outright lie, or are they separated by degrees?
  • Could you fall in love with someone who always fell asleep before you did?
  • Would you feed a starving raven?
  • Do you stand at a window so you can watch the first snow?
--Mitchell Hegman

Friday, November 11, 2011

A Little Sun

All I ask is for some sun.

All I want is just a bit of sunshine on my face.

(For my friend, Gene Rice, who walked right through the moon yesterday morning as his family stood watching.)

--Mitchell Hegman

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Full Moon, Two Friends

I drove to work under a full moon, thinking about two friends now battling with disease.  When I was a child, I sometimes imagined the moon not as a planet floating up over me, but, instead, as hole filled with light.  And as the hole slowly drifted down nearer to the horizon to settle beyond the cottonwood trees near our home, I fancied that I might walk through the trees to find the spot where the moon found my hometown, a spot from which I might step into the light and walk through.

Today, the moon seems stiff and immovable.  And since my childhood, my parents and grandparents and my wife and so many others have left me.  On a good day, I imagine them all walking through the moon to find a better place.  On a good day, the clouds nearby glow as if electrified.   On a good day, the moon is not near this hard and blue.

--Mitchell Hegman

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Travel Advice

Try to be the strangest person on the bus.  Nobody will bother you.

--Mitchell Hegman

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

No, to All of That

Do you recall what Francis Galton said—that successful people should procreate more than should the less-achieved?  In the pairing of successful people and in their reproduction, Galton reasoned that human suffering might be greatly reduced.

But here is the rub: how do we define success?  Shall smooth skin qualify?  Might someone with a fat bank account shout for longevity?  How shall we weigh the recessive gene for male baldness or the blind man who plays the piano more beautifully than the music teacher with sight?

No, to all of that.

We cannot forget the happy accidents.  Consider how alchemy, though failing terrifically at producing gold from less valuable chemical arrangements, gave us a space shuttle to veer against the stars.  Penicillin came from an experiment botched with impurities.  Without Charles Goodyear accidentally spilling a cocktail of rubber, lead, and sulfur on his stove we would not have vulcanized rubber.

Failure was never more beautiful than that winter day when your wife tumbled in the deep snow and lay there laughing, her red jacket conspicuous as a rose floating in milk.  That day you finally understood that you were trying too hard at always remaining upright, and you flopped in the snow beside her.  Embracing, you counted thirty-seven puffy clouds sailing above.
--Mitchell Hegman    

Monday, November 7, 2011

A Simple Truth

This life is not always fair.  In fact, this life is often cruel.  But where else can you find a decent cup of coffee?

--Mitchell Hegman

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Along the Missouri River

Photos from one of my drives along the Missouri River.
--Mitchell Hegman

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A Thought for Mary

Just one thing.  Always look in the direction where the sky and stars are rising up.

--Mitchell Hegman

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

One Tree

Sunday, alone, I drove the frontage road between Great Falls and Helena where the highway and the river weave together and weave apart, both nudged in their directions by mountains and escarpments.  High, wind-shorn clouds stretched across the plains and the mountains.  Here is a photograph I took at one of my many stops.

--Mitchell Hegman

Monday, October 31, 2011


I don’t care what that poet said, the sky is never uneven and clouds are never cold.

--Mitchell Hegman

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Storm Falling Over the Hills

Here is a photograph I managed to capture near Silver City, Montana just as a late afternoon storm fell over the hills.

--Mitchell Hegman

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Not the Blues

I am sitting here with two cats on my lap and my computer resting on them as I write this. The cats have both fallen fast asleep. A while ago, my stereo reached the end of a CD and ceased playing. Still, I heard music—low and resonant music, like what you might hear rising up to you when someone plays the blues two floors below. I quickly realized that the music was my cats breathing.

Inside, my cats are made of music!

Who knew?

--Mitchell Hegman

Friday, October 28, 2011

Ecclesiastes Updated

There is nothing new under the sun, which begs the question: Why isn’t everything selling at used prices?

--Mitchell Hegman

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Words, but More Importantly, Sounds

Luke lunched late
lying lazily and alone
along a long, looping, lane
where hazy hollows and holes
halved the hawthorne and hollyhock
with shadows.

--Mitchell Hegman

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Invention

Happiness is a human construct (similar to any other) that must be assembled using anything of value within reach. It does not matter—providing your happiness does not shade the assembly of another—what ideas are used to build your happiness. What matters is that you get started with your construction immediately and that you keep busy at it.

--Mitchell Hegman

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Canyon Creek, Montana

Fall colors against open hills. Photo taken on 10-23-2011

--Mitchell Hegman

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Horse Frozen in Mid-Air (Poem)

In this, half a heart will do.
Leave the rest unturned, abused, placed in categories uncertain.
The spleen provides nothing.
The bluest eye translates improperly.

The most difficult constellations have crept up all around you.
Pyxis. Corvus. Lupus.
Your piano balances upon a golden tuning fork
and your jade guitar hums where it stands.
Your lone black horse has frozen solid in mid-air,
caught in full-gallop across the hoar-frost pen.

Who that we admire lived alone?
What battle did Hannibal win while fixed in place?
Where will the piano and the horse fall if unlocked?

Juan Gris rendered beautifully but found fame only in maddening light,
in tense cubist forms and uncharted chicanery. His colors all wrong.
Yet, only those lines he connected in haste survive.

If your thoughts are troubling you, my dear,
stop thinking.

--Mitchell Hegman

(For CJK)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Sunset (October 18, 2011)

This is a photograph of a sunset exactly as my bedroom window frames them.

--Mitchell Hegman

Friday, October 21, 2011

Another Updated List

Updated List of Stuff I Don’t Like

• Mayonnaise
• Warts (Sort of a no-brainer there)
• May 11th
• Mayonnaise on anything (I am not buying into Miracle Whip, either)
• Mud falling off my shoes onto my kitchen floor.
• The word “groovy” used by anyone more that twice in a three-year period.
• Mayonnaise just sitting there, looking at me
• Ghosts that open doors instead of close them
• My Adele CD skipping (Note to self: upgrade to new storage medium for tunes)
• Driving from light into winter darkness (Without stars)
• Gnats in my ear
• Green peppers
• Gnats being spelled g-n-a-t-s
• Gnats stuck in mayonnaise
• Remembering how my wife’s hand felt clasped inside mine, on May 11th, as she left me

--Mitchell Hegman

Thursday, October 20, 2011


Last night, I dreamed that I was chasing grasshoppers across a dry field of tall grass in which all of the grass was laid nearly flat in a single direction. The grasshoppers were the red-winged sort that click-click-clicked as they sketched away. I could not catch a single one of the hoppers, though I flailed and grasped at them constantly.

They confused me.

For some reason, I never managed to focus on a single grasshopper. I kept veering here and their, always lighting out after the next one to shoot up, clickity-clickity, into the air near me. I soon found myself running against the grain of the grass, which only forced more hoppers into the air. After only a little of this, an undefined desperation overcame me, and I stopped solid there in the field, panting. Hoppers churned in the air around me, clickety-click-clicking, flashing red. Some of them struck my arms and face. I stood there with the hoppers all around as the dream faded.

Today, I am hoping that dreams are without meaning.

--Mitchell Hegman

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Drinking Whiskey with Mark Twain

Sylvia Plath once wrote (in The Bell Jar) something to the effect that she “didn’t want to be the place the arrow shoots off from,” she wanted to be the arrow. Probably, I have that completely wrong and should have checked with the much-to-be-mistrusted Wikipedia pages for some facts. However, in a few rare cases (this as example) facts may be over-rated and not particularly helpful.

I like this quote as I have it imagined. I am not, personally, convinced that I wish to be the arrow or even the point from whence it came. Only this: better to be the arrow or the place from whence it came than to be the place where the arrow finds its mark. I have no desire to be the target. And, while at this, we might be best to ignore that Sylvia Plath suicided by means of sticking her head in an oven and sucking in only carbon monoxide.

Details. How they ugly-up everything, as do the facts certain.

Another pesky detail of note is that I have an electric oven, which might preclude anyone form suiciding in a similar fashion in my house.

As you have most likely surmised, I can misquote with the very best of them. I love to get Mark Twain wrong. Even when you get him correct, he sounds wrong, at a minimum, and cruel at the extreme. Twain also had an aversion for always spelling words correctly.

Well, I am going to imagine that also.

He once said: “I don’t give a damn for a man that can only spell a word one way.”

Twain would give a damn about me. I have a flare for misspelling. I imagine that we—Mark Twain and I—might share a drink of whiskey and yell at children for short-cutting across the lawn. I see us in rocking chairs with bad gray hair and a wicker table between us, cursing about these ridiculous laws that don’t allow you to shoot other people in the ass occasionally.

I have a favorite story about Mark Twain. At the apex of his career, Twain earned something near a dollar for every word he wrote—a considerable sum even today, over one-hundred years later. Hearing about this, someone wrote a letter asking Twain for his “best” word. They enclosed a dollar inside the envelope. A return letter soon appeared with a single word and Mark Twain’s signature. “Thanks,” the letter said.

--Mitchell Hegman

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Note to Chris and to Mary (who often forget their cameras when they go places)

I have never takes a decent photograph without my camera. Besides, you never know when you might bump into Bigfoot or Elvis.

--Mitchell Hegman

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Glacier Park, Montana

Fall colors against a Two Medicine rockface and fresh snow at higher elevations.

--Mitchell Hegman