Photography And Half-Thoughts By Mitchell Hegman

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

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