Photography And Half-Thoughts By Mitchell Hegman

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

Sunday, July 31, 2011


I once wrote in my journal how I thought that the only women who really mattered were those willing to have sex with me. I have since been proven wrong.

--Mitchell Hegman

Friday, July 29, 2011

Hong Kong, 1985

Today, I have posted two photographs that I took of Hong Kong in 1985 with my Minolta SLR film camera.
--Mitchell Hegman

Thursday, July 28, 2011

A Woman

I’m not sure that I am reacting as most people might, following the death of their long-time spouse. Specifically, I refer to my thoughts about the opposite sex. In my case, women. I will further clarify by saying that my reaction is the lack of thoughts about women or sex. I have, incrementally, over the last three months, become less and less interested in women, sexually. I sometimes think you might set Angelina Jolie between me and my television, have her dancing seductively in a see-through negligee, and I would ask her to kindly step aside so I could flip to the Discovery Channel or the Food Network. Something is missing…and that something, though I never really try to define this in certain terms, is the woman I loved. For all these years I have invested all that I am, all that I have, in my wife. Now that she is gone, so is most of my desire.

This is an unexpected development. I expected that the absolute absence of my wife, the hole that she left when she vanished might drive me to, at a minimum, unfulfilled desire.

Not so.

The other day, for instance, I met a younger woman defined by a pair of large, surgically enhanced breasts. Big, fake boobs, if you prefer. Her breasts stood at forced attention below her chin, handily exposed in her low-cut top like two glossy bullets in the open magazine of a rifle. Not an unattractive woman by any means, she purposefully swung her breasts at me, tossed them to the side, pressed them out in front of every motion she conducted. A production, to be sure. While many men would have been hoping for a “wardrobe malfunction,” similar to the one that befell Janet Jackson at Super Bowl 38, I backed away, concerned that one of us might get hurt if she became overly animated. Mostly, I kept fixed on her eyes, which were deep brown, nearly the exact color of Coca-Cola, and far more interesting than the rest of her.

--Mitchell Hegman

Monday, July 25, 2011

Our House

Here is a picture I snapped of the house Uyen and I constructed below the sky. The photo was taken in 1993, two years after we finished. Again, the sky is my garden...

--Mitchell Hegman

A Lakeshore Chat

My friend Leo is at or near the age of eighty-four. This time of year, we sometimes bump into each other at the lakeshore and sit under the shade of his giant golden willow, watching as thin young people in shiny ski boats with lurid graphics swing skiers and tubers and boarders across the water in front of us. We often talk about politics and family and whatever weeds are pestering our property at a given time. The weed at present is what we call Chinese clover.

Funny how I regard Leo a close friend these days, especially when you consider he is actually the father of one of my best friends, and when you further consider that he frightened the hell out of me as a kid. He was big and often bearded and teased with a dry style that children never fully comprehend. Most alarming of all, he hung on the front door of his house a sign that read “Don’t Go Away Mad, Just Go Away.” Let me assure you, I only knocked on that door with great reluctance as a kid, always hoping that Leo would not answer. And then there is the time he volunteered to cut my hair and shaved my head bald as I squirmed in panic. My mother phoned a scathing protest his way following that. My mother, at the time, liked a new group of musicians, with longish hair, called The Beatles.

Yesterday, during the shimmering heat of late afternoon, we met at the shore and chatted as he sat on his four-wheeler, which he uses constantly due to hip and knee malfunction and pain. Eventually, the subject turned to animals—both pets and the wild turkeys we have been seeing recently. As a boat with thumping music sliced across the lake, generating waves that nearly rolled up onto the grass at my feet, Leo told me that something came up onto the porch of his house late the other night and sprayed urine on his front door. “I guess it could have been a feral cat or something,” he speculated.

“I don’t know, Leo,” I answered after some thought, “Might have been one of your relatives.”

--Mitchell Hegman

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Business of Ruin

Somewhere along the line, about ten years ago, I either bumped my head one morning or drank some tainted coffee—the end result of which instilled within me an urge to remote my way through the television cable channels and watch some of the early morning business programming. I have to admit, I really don’t understand business. I get a little—no, a lot—lost when the folks on the guest panels begin discoursing about “fiscal” policy versus “monetary” policy. When a wall-streeter talks about “playing the margins,” I typically envision someone playing shuffleboard on some sunny ship’s deck at sea. And, while I am certain shuffleboard is inappropriate in the business aspect, I am not interested enough to dig deeper for understanding. Also, I don’t know a damned thing about shuffleboard. Nonetheless, I have continued watching some of the business shows.

I am pretty sure that we have by this point established that some pretty big messes have been brewing in the financial world. The thing I find intriguing about financial and business troubles, though, is not the path that led us to them, not the structure of the particular troubles (as an example, the swath of upside-down mortgages hanging over us), and not even what may eventually solve the problems; I am fascinated by how many of the people on these business shows spend their days devising ways of carving profit from the points of collapse rather than finding a way to actually repair the problems. Often, the money-making schemes are completely beyond my understanding. If I cannot figure out shuffleboard, how will I tackle oil futures and any manner of speculation? The free markets and business formations are tricky beasts to slay and I am without a proper spear, intellectually speaking.

Still, I watch.

In the last half-dozen years, profit and failure have proven to be successfully conjoined twins. In one example, home foreclosures have ascended to all-time highs banking profits have similarly climbed. The banks are presently flush, thank you very much. This morning, as I watched another of the investment kings explaining where best to express profit in our wobbly world marketplaces, the jarring thought occurred to me that we are paving our long-term road to ruin with short-term success achieved by any means. But, since I really don’t grasp business, hopefully I am wrong.

--Mitchell Hegman

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A Quote

I think that for today we will simply run with a quote from Albert Einstein that I really like:

“Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe.”

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


I saw another of my friend’s unintended consequences buying beer and dog food at the grocery the other day. I am amazed at how quickly our mistakes have matured.

--Mitchell Hegman

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Metaphors and Statements of Fact

C. S. Lewis, in his tome A Grief Observed, begins with the line: “No one ever told me that grief felt so much like fear.”

Fair enough. Grief can feel that way, like fear, like a beast that grips you, holds you down or shakes you until your limbs fall numb. Sometimes, grief is a rhino charging at you unexpectedly, triggered abruptly by some uncultivated gesture, or impelled by a single word spoken by someone else in an otherwise meaningless conversation, maybe a word mispronounced, one that makes me think about how Uyen said “dat” instead of “that,” when she spoke too fast.

Sometimes, grief is the face of your loved one, somehow fashioned there in a display of gala apples at the grocery and turned silver when struck by halide light at an angle certain. On occasion, grief is a smile when you recall the time your love sat laughing amid a newly discovered patch of huckleberries in the rarified mountain light of an early morning with a soft halo of tiny insects swirling above her. Grief is watering the parched geranium early on Sunday morning. On bad days, grief is liquid poured over all that you touch. Grief is a solid core lodged inside you. Grief is an elephantine construction that is both tenuous and tenacious at the same time. Grief is your own child, following you from place to place. Grief is clear and cold is glacier ice, hot and obtuse as black pavement bathed in the desert sun. Grief is both broken and fixed. Grief is the diet upon which we starve.

Grief is my beautiful wife standing where a fence splits the springtime landscape in two. In one hand, she holds aloft a gathering of lupine and mule’s ear. In the other hand, she holds the sun. I swear to you, grief is hope and salvation, because grief is the name of the place where we begin—where I begin—anew.

--Mitchell Hegman

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Point-of-View, Thistle

Photograph of a thistle I found on my drive home through the ranchlands.
--Mitchell Hegman

Friday, July 15, 2011

Going To Work

Not all commutes to and from work are created equal. I am, as example, convinced that I would not survive a steady diet of the 405 in Los Angeles. When I see images of all the on-ramps, off-ramps, loops, multi-lane, and single-lane roads splayed through the city, stacked in layers, tied into bowties, knit into granny-knots, and flopped overtop the metropolis, I get queasy. Imagine the upcoming mess when they purposefully close down a stretch for roadwork in a few days.

My commute to work, on the other hand, is always calm and often filled with lovely Montana diversions. The other day, I had to slow when I rounded one corner so that I might allow a gawky pair of sandhill cranes to totter across the road and flap up against a pink sky. I often stop for deer. On rarer occasions I allow elk or any number of more exotic critters to cross ahead of me. During the transitional and warm seasons, I leave very early just so I might stop someplace on my way into Helena along one of several routes I might choose. I may stop and watch a storm roll though, which is our version of heavy traffic. Sometimes I drive to water and catch the sun or moon skipping reflections across the surface.

The sky is my garden out here. And I drive right through my garden on the way to work. Here, I have posted a picture from my commute to work yesterday morning.

--Mitchell Hegman

Thursday, July 14, 2011

What I Thought When I Last Saw Charlie Sheen:

Men who are truly in control of their own destiny either spend their time trying to control the destiny of others or they crash hard and end up with a string of feral hookers and a variety of drug dependencies.

--Mitchell Hegman

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


I have always been partial to voting for lunatics when they run for office, as example Ross Perot. I like Bill Clinton, Ron Paul, Dennis Kucinich, and Pat Buchanan all at the same time. These are complex men who have thought about their positions and are at least slightly goofy. And, as a significant side note, Dennis Kucinich is a geeky little guy with an incredibly hot wife (do a web search for him and just see what happens). The more complicated and difficult a politician’s ideas and plans, the more intrigued I become. I tend to be repulsed by the “quick fix” guys or the “catch-phrase” queens of any political persuasion.

Having finally entered into the next national election cycle, the airwaves are overstuffed with quick-fix schemes and polished catch-phrases for a troubled and apparently confused polity, never mind that we are on the verge of financial crisis again with our debt. Apparently, a great turn of phrase will save us. I am both bemused and horrified by the rapid poll fluctuations of the announced candidates for the presidency. The candidates rise and fall by day and by region. Are we, as an electorate, that shallow and fickle? The potential voters chase after the newest political gem, like unimprinted ducklings waddling after a man on a riding lawnmower because they need a mother and are convinced they have found her. We have neither long-term memory nor long-term plans. At what point will the ducklings follow a callow non-thinker over an unseen cliff?

--Mitchell Hegman

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Hogback Mountain, July 10, 2011

Two photographs from my recent drive to the top of Hogback Mountain.       --Mitchell Hegman

Monday, July 11, 2011

Everybody Loves A Duck

A friend of mine, for no discernible reason, slogged through the middle years of the 1970’s almost continuously repeating the phrase: “everybody loves a duck.” As a point of fact, I believe everybody does love a duck, though I am unsure why my friend felt so compelled to tell everyone. While my sister may, just the same as the rest of the populace, love a duck, she cannot abide by a goose. She is gripped by an intense fear of geese. Big white, fluffy geese. She claims that a white goose “attacked” her one day as she strolled through a park in Denver. I cannot imagine what a goose attack looks like to an observer, but I don’t expect that the visual impact rivals that, say, of a naked man attacking with a machete. My sister alleges that the goose tried to peck her and nip at her. The goose chased her away from the reflecting pond and around the big trees, all honking and feathery, perhaps with deep-set aspirations of becoming a down pillow once that skinny broad was chased the hell away from the water.

--Mitchell Hegman

Friday, July 8, 2011

Cloud Over The Sleeping Giant

This is an old photograph (from 1987) that I took from my yard on Kalispell Street in East Helena. The original photo was taken using a single-lens reflex camera with Ektachrome slide film as the medium. Due to houses and power poles in the immediate foreground, I forced the shot up to the sky so only the Big Belt Mountains appear at the bottom. You can see the Sleeping Giant at the left corner of the frame. This photo—to me—is filled with a great deal of tension because of both the cloud and the way I needed to frame with only a

small slice of landscape below.

--Mitchell Hegman

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Just A Small Change

As I drove to work the other morning, a vesper sparrow abruptly ejected from the upright and tall awnless brome grass along the highway. The bird flew parallel for only an instant before veering crosswise over the highway, nearly smashing into my windshield before whisking just overtop the cab of my truck. As I watched the near-hit sparrow suck away to a black point in my review mirror, the thought occurred to me that a better universe might be one in which birds never got struck by automobiles. Rather, if an ill-timed bird flew up in front of your car, the bird would flash right through the inside and exit again, unharmed, like a plane passing through a cloud or an arrow through a net. But then I realized my thoughts were far too small. For the rest of the drive to work, I imagined my wife and my grandparents and John’s wife and Kevin’s wife—I imagined all of those vanished and endangered people I know slipping through my truck unharmed, alive on both sides.

Grant me this, only this small change to the universe, and it shall be so.

--Mitchell Hegman

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Two Easy Steps

How To Become a Male Model In Two Easy Steps:

1. Be good-looking
2. Be tall in stature

Note to self: In light of two easy steps listed above, strike “male model” from “to do” list.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

By Any Other Name

Went for a hike at home on Sunday just after the sun pushed over the mountains. Stopped at a patch of groundsel I found. Remained there for a while, letting the sun warm my arms and face. Only when I see sunlight dancing on wildflowers am I certain that I am alive. As always, I have pictures.

--Mitchell Hegman

Sunday, July 3, 2011

June Activity Report

June Activity Report:

Sat at home. Very quiet. Stared at the walls.

Went to work. Stayed pretty busy when not staring at walls.

Drove to cabin. Tried to work on casing trim, stared at walls instead.

End of report for June.

--Mitchell Hegman

Friday, July 1, 2011

An Observation

Everyone has their problems. The difference is that your problem can walk in the opposite direction, drink whisky, and access your bank account.

--Mitchell Hegman