Photography And Half-Thoughts By Mitchell Hegman

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

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

Friday, October 14, 2011

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Ursula's Voice

Yesterday, I made a business call to a faraway woman named Ursula. After the call ended, I continued to think about the yielding lilt in every word she spoke. Her “thank you” sounded the same way cotton balls feel when you take them up and roll them between your fingers. I quickly realized—as her voice looped and kitten-stepped around my thoughts—that I wanted to marry Ursula's voice and sleep every night with her Russian accent.

--Mitchell Hegman

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Without Caution


Part II

I drove the rain-wet highway down drive from Great Falls, leaving behind the open plains, with the whole expanse behind me pressed flat by a vast azure sky filled with scudding clouds—their shadows cast down hard against the pale earth and all probing in a single direction. At some point, the landscape grew wild and tousled. The Missouri River flung itself free from a crooked cage of dark, volcanic mountains and lashed out across the open expanse. The mountains soon tipped themselves upright against the highway and closed in around the roadway. Rocks teetered just above the endless loops and climbs as I drove directly into the pop-up mountain range. Inside the mountain drive, the blonde grass turned into honey pouring downslope between spines of stone. The Missouri river kept swinging back and forth all around me, under the highway, through openings between shadowy thrusts of stone, beside the occasional hayfield patterned with rows of freshly baled hay, the water shimmering.

This is the landscape I love most. This is the place I love most. Give me a landscape the rises and falls without caution. Give me rock spires that are unafraid of reaching for the sky and a curious river that never settles for a single direction.

--Mitchell Hegman

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Part I

Enough of the caution that has trapped me in casual attire and placed me inside mid-sized cars replete with fake leather seats. Give me the real thing—throw me on leather while the framing beast is still on hoof and storming the foothills. Place me in spikes at the stark white start line of a red cinder track. Cross my chest with brass belts made of live ammunition. Brick the accelerator to the floor and direct me toward a sharp curve. Allow me to occupy the shark cage and then plunk me below the swelling waves.

Caution lines the bottom of the parrot’s cage. Caution wipes the kitchen counter clean and then returns with disinfectant that stings your nose. Caution stands inside the door instead of dancing frenzied blue tracks out into the sparkling white of new snow. Caution weeps hunched in the corner while wrapped in a terrycloth robe. Caution is afraid to leave the house in unmatched socks.

Enough of that. Today, I start with unmatched socks.

--Mitchell Hegman

Monday, October 10, 2011

Climbing a Fence

My shadow climbs a Sun Canyon fence. Contrast adjusted.

--Mitchell Hegman

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Of Utmost Importance

A single yellow leaf released itself from a perfectly still cottonwood stand and gently swayed down into a silver brook flexing just below. The brook withdrew the leaf. A man sat watching.

--Mitchell Hegman

Friday, October 7, 2011


Here is another of my quirks: earthworms. After moderate to heavy rains, the parking lot at my place of work fills with earthworms sprawled in various forms of pose, as if waiting for a photographer to snap a few centerfold shots of them. The worms are, in reality, fleeing the natural features of the nearby landscaping due to the production of carbonic acid in the soil following rainstorms. The carbonic acid, at a minimum, is a kind of earthwormy drug. At a maximum, the acid may kill them.

My quirk is specifically this: I feel compelled to save the lives of at least a dozen worms following any rainstorm. If caught by the sun in our lot, they will certainly perish. So, after arriving at work this morning, firing up my computer and brewing coffee, I went back out to the after-rain asphalt and began flicking worms back onto the grass.

I have, on occasion, been caught in the act of saving worms by coworkers. “What in the hell are you doing?” I recall one of my male coworkers asking on such an instance.

“I am saving lives,” I answered.

“They are worms.”

“Yup, had that figured early on.”

Worms,” he repeated changing the word from a pea to an anvil.

“Yeah, I can’t help it.”

That is the deal—I cannot stop myself. A quirk. You don’t embrace them. They embrace you.

--Mitchell Hegman

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Ten Questions to Ask X (or Someone Similar to X)

1. Have you ever cut your own hair in anger?
2. Would you be upset if, in the next ten-thousand years, natural forces whittled Florida down to a narrow path leading out into the aquamarine ocean?
3. Given that our home is so near the Great Divide, do your prefer your rivers flowing to the Pacific Ocean or the Atlantic Ocean? Note: for this question please ignore Triple Divide Peak in Glacier National Park, Montana, which sheds water to the Pacific, Atlantic, as well a Hudson Bay by way of Canada.
4. Have you ever held a dead songbird in your hand?
5. If, in a friend’s home, you chanced upon a painting hanging crooked on the wall, would you attempt to nudge the frame plumb again?
6. Do you believe that our species invented mathematics or is this something we discovered?
7. Will you continue to read books made of paper?
8. Have you ever stopped while hiking in a remote forest and made love in a cross-sunlight place with boulders and trees all around you?
9. Is there anyone you do not agree with politically and socially, but still admire?
10. Do you like the smell wood burning in an open fire?

--Mitchell Hegman

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Scent of Rain

Clouds. Strong wind. Then rain. Finally, the smell of wet stone and grass has filled the air after a long dry. I could not find all of Orion in the cloud-cross sky, but managed a glimpse of his sword when I gazed up as I drove away from my house on my early morning commute to work.

His sword will do.

I have been thinking much about Theresa Colley and her climb back to health. And if I were there with her, I would wish to be the scent of something like rain. Not to be the rain, but the scent of rain. I wish to be a small part of something bigger. All is captured within the scent of rain: loam, green tendril, solid stone, a child’s freshly washed hair, the hint of new flowers.

And if I cannot be the scent of rain, then, please, allow me to be Orion’s sword, fixed above and steady.

--Mitchell Hegman

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Recurring Thought

Godspeed, Theresa Colley.
I am against all that you are against.
I am with all that you are with.

--Mitchell Hegman

Monday, October 3, 2011

Male Housecat

I woke again—several times—late last night and found one of my male housecats sleeping there against my pillow. This cat seems drawn to me only while I am sleeping. During the day, the cat typically shies away when I reach out to pat his head, as if we were magnets of similar poles that automatically repel. The cat developed the habit of sharing my pillow only a few days ago. I am not sure why. Now, I have similarly attained the habit of reaching out each time I wake in the darkness to see if I can feel the warm poultice that is this slumbering cat. Soft, he. Warm, he. And soon purring.

We are alive and vital, and have somehow collected together in the darkness.

In an email to a friend I suggested that this cat might by watching my dreams. Maybe that is the attraction to me late in the night. Since I no longer remember my dreams, I wonder if the cat is not only watching, but stealing by best dreams—the ones where fish in ponds kiss my toes, the dreams where I am young again. By the time I wake each morning, the male cat is gone and I recall, from the whole night though, nothing except reaching out for those few brief moments when I came awake.

All of us, man and beast, are frozen when asleep. Locked fast inside our own bodies, we pivot along against the smear of stars, propelled by forces far beyond our control. The days, though, belong to us. That much we own. In the full light, we choose our colors and our naming songs. With cats, as with people, as with all stardust infinity, we must find purpose to make both the easy and the difficult connections during that time. First, love. Next, flowerboxes, shiny cars, exotic coffee, and chasing new mice below ancient pine trees.

I am starting small. I begin with this single housecat. I begin with small moments deep in the night. Sooner or later, out there in the sunlight, I will find you. We do not yet know who we are. None of us know who we are. Not just yet.

--Mitchell Hegman