Photography And Half-Thoughts By Mitchell Hegman

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

Tuesday, July 31, 2012


Today, I have posted a photograph taken in the aspens groves found in the Alice Creek drainage.  I turned the photograph upside-down for an interesting point-of-view.

--Mitchell Hegman   

Monday, July 30, 2012

Lemons, Roses, and Summer Rain Falling Across Long Dry Land

Lemons, roses, and summer rain falling across a long dry land: each has a smell that overwhelms. 
Add huckleberries to that.
The scent of a freshly halved lemon is crisp and keen—it has an edge.   Taking in the scent deeply feels very nearly like running your thumb along the blade of a newly sharpened knife.  The scent of lemon has become associated with cleanliness.
Roses fill the air with a fragrance that whisks about you and tickles you the way silken scarves might if you stood amid them in a gentle flow of wind.  Sweet and soft: the aroma of roses.    Romantic. 
Rain to dry land releases the very essence of earth and stone.  If you close your eyes and draw in the smell of new rain, you quickly understand why the roots of bull pine reach so greedily to grasp at more.    
Huckleberries smell like the color purple.  Their scent soaks deep into your hands as the violet juice dyes your fingertips while you gather them.  When huckleberries ripen in their mountain home, whole valleys turn purple with their aroma.  As the summer heat permeates the deep forest floor, the air fills with huckleberry—the smell a mix of earth and nectar and snow melting against shale.
The high mountain valleys of Montana have just this week turned purple.
--Mitchell Hegman

Sunday, July 29, 2012


Pictured today is a bull moose and some huckleberries.  These two items are related only in that I encountered them both yesterday. 
I bumped into the moose near my cabin early in the morning.  He trotted half-way around me as I climbed out of my truck and then he halted and stood there, swinging his rack back and forth.   Not wishing the moose to crash away before I snapped a decent photograph, I spoke to him in an even voice.  “Hello, Mr. Moose,” I said.  “Baseball season is in full swing and I am here to work on my cabin for a bit.  By the way, the stock market was up yesterday.”
I realized that I was spouting nonsense—but what does a moose know?  Additionally, as I spoke I removed one lens from my camera and twisted on another.   Finally, I hoisted my camera.

I found the huckleberries in the afternoon on a berry scouting trip to a high-mountain secret location which is apparently a secret location for about a dozen other people.  No matter.  I mountain-goated up the slopes and picked quite a few berries while being attacked by no-see-ums and deer flies.  And then I poked around in some lush understory filled with fireweed and the broad leaves of thimbleberry.

--Mitchell Hegman

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Your Choice?

1.      Immerse yourself in joy.
2.      Drown yourself in sorrow.
--Mitchell Hegman

Friday, July 27, 2012

Soldiers, Women, and Their Children

In May of 2003, the rear cargo door of a Russian-design military air transport burst wide open at 33,000 feet above the Congo, instantly sucking out into the air 120 soldiers, their wives, and children.  They all dropped helplessly to their deaths.
Yesterday, my workday felt just like that.
--Mitchell Hegman

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Welcome, if You Will

Welcome, if you will, the end of a star-spun night.  Welcome five deer leaping the silver fence.  Welcome the uneasy peace in Iraq.   Welcome the squared shale talus from which we glean our walk-stones.   Welcome six before seven.  Welcome all survivors of breast cancer.  Welcome to long wires humming their electrical song and wild rye swaying in silence.  Welcome computer graphic loops of waves crashing against the shore.  Welcome to swing-set toddlers and big kids swirling through the soccer field.   Welcome the first yawn and first laughter.
Welcome the beginning of a better day than yesterday.
--Mitchell Hegman

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


He who mistakes the roar of a lion for the singing of a lark makes few other mistakes.
--Mitchell Hegman

Monday, July 23, 2012

Bad Sky

Photos taken yesterday afternoon from my front drive.

--Mitchell Hegman

Sunday, July 22, 2012

First Draft of a Popular Song

when you     in the     we     they     I     as the rain fell on grass    bacon    what the hell     really miss the sound of    of     of      love the  feel of     of     of      your voice sounds like pennies sliding down a tin roof     you are something to me     but     when     we     maybe  baby   
--Mitchell Hegman

Saturday, July 21, 2012

At the Window (Maybe a Metaphor)

So much of life has become as this moment: You are standing on one side of the window looking out while your cat sits on the other side looking in, displaying what appears to be a visage of derision.
--Mitchell Hegman

Friday, July 20, 2012

Sexual Innuendo






Jade wristlet


Mood swing

Fall line

Sweet spot

Long pause

Soft paws




White chiffon

--Mitchell Hegman

Thursday, July 19, 2012


Driving to work on the ranch roads early in the morning I came upon a conspicuous dark pattern (nearly a puddle) in the center of the road.  I stopped before driving over the spot and climbed out of the truck to investigate.
Nothing nearby.  No crumpled beast.  No fur.  Not a single sign of struggle.
Just blood.
I wandered a wide circle around the dark patch on the road seeking clues, as my pickup tinged and ticked, idling away in the silent dawn of a new day.
Grass pasture.  Alfalfa.  Stars just now fading above.  Light seeping in like fog from the east.
Nothing unusual.
Nothing but that hideous patch of blood.
--Mitchell Hegman

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A Sunset Storm

I have posted two photographs taken from my deck last night. 
A storm bullied across the mountains just as sunset began to stain the sky.
I did not use a filter or alter the colors.
--Mitchell Hegman

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

One More Question

We all have self-constructed lists of what matters; but I ask you, does what I am wearing as I write this really matter?
--Mitchell Hegman

Monday, July 16, 2012

I Spoke to the Sun and the Clouds Kissed Me

Yesterday, I sat outside watching pleasure boats unzipping wakes as they sped over the silver-blue surface of Hauser Lake.  I sat there for several minutes, thinking about all those people that, for one reason or another, have disappeared from my life.  Hundreds of them.  Perhaps thousands.  Some have fully departed.  Others merely went away on career.  Couples divorced and ejected themselves.  A few simply dissolved when I looked away.
I would take most of these people back.
Surely I would.
For a few, I would sacrifice greatly if given that they would return again.
At some point rainclouds began grasping at the sun and splayed shadows overtop the lake.  Looking up, I spoke to the sun.  I don’t recall the exact words I used now, but I told the sun that I knew others would be departing from my life, from this life.  “But you,” I concluded, “you always circle right around and come back again.  For that, I am most grateful.”
Almost immediately, cool drops of rain began to strike my shoulders and face.  The raindrops felt like icy kisses.
I remained there until soaking wet.
--Mitchell Hegman

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Silent and Sexless

The heat of July has not yet brought forth the nightly symphony of crickets.   Last night, although I had my windows flung wide open, I did not hear a single cricket chirping.  I heard only the pines scouring through the passing wind and the occasional reports of distant thunder before sleep dragged me down into the warm and syrupy black of near-nothingness.
The rate of chirping performed by crickets is directly related to temperature—as is the speed at which an ant walks.  Higher temperatures will incite a more frenzied song from crickets.  Entomologists have gone so far as to develop a formula that can be used to determine the outside temperature based on the rate of chirping performed by crickets.  This formula, which is far too sciency (my own word) to readily recall, involves counting the chirps for something like 14 seconds and adding 40 to that. 
Interesting, but the chirping is really all about sex.
Only the male crickets chirp.  This chirping, contrary to the popular myth that it is made by the insects rubbing together their legs, is produced when the boys in the band violin together the inside edges of their wings.  All chirping has some form of sexual content.  And, as with all species, the girls are really attracted to the boys in the band.  The loud symphony we normally hear is associated with attracting females and warning off other males.
Sex all through the hot nights!
Last night I and the crickets settled ourselves into a silent and sexless night, colored only by the occasional splash of lightning against the far side of the mountains.
Maybe August or September.
--Mitchell Hegman                                              

Saturday, July 14, 2012


A photograph of ice at the bottom of my glass.

--Mitchell Hegman

Friday, July 13, 2012


If words are weapons, they are also toys.  I prefer to think of them as something akin to Play-Doh.  I sometimes like to pick up words, roll them around a bit, moosh them apart, or squish them together and make two words into one. 
These are my words.
While I suppose some people object to my wordsquishing tendencies, in spoken form the words sound as a single thing, anyway.  Read this sentence aloud: An ominous cloudfront pushed a steady nightwind across the greenblue sea.
Does that not sound as it should?
--Mitchell Hegman

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Distant Fires

Destruction sometimes has a beautiful face.  Consider the awesome purple cloudfronts preceding a hailstorm.  Consider the whitewater from heavy rains tearing apart the flank of a mountain.  Consider the photograph I have posted today.
The lurid sunrise I captured over Hauser Lake yesterday has not been altered in color.  The lovely blush is a result of smoke from distant wildfires.
Another pretty face—this one wrought by fire.   
--Mitchell Hegman

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Total Resource Cost Testing

For some odd reason, I really enjoy the field of energy efficiency.  This is likely due to a genetic defect that, in other people, would likely manifest as some form of learning disabilities.
Energy efficiency can be complicated business.
As one small example, we can look at Total Resource Cost Testing (TRC Testing).  Posed as a simple question, TRC Testing would read something like this: “Is changing your light bulb a good investment?”
Sounds simple, right?
Well, power providers have found a way to make this excessively complicated when they look at energy-saving measures.  Part of the formula for TRC Testing involves something called Net Present Value.  Net Present Value takes into account an asset’s worth at time zero.  This value must be weighed against the present cost of producing a kilowatt-hour, the future projected cost of such (including inflationary figures), the energy savings, etc.
Mind you, the above paragraph is only a small portion of Total Resource Cost Testing.  If TRC Testing was illustrated as listening to music it might go something like this:
You must begin by playing your favorite classical piece on your preferred sound system.  At 3 second intervals during the length of the entire song blast an air horn and dance a bit of a jig.  At random points during the listening session, you must modulate the volume back and forth between minimum and maximum.  On occasion, smack the speakers.  Midway through the song, find an open place and run around in a clockwise circle.  Stop.  Run the same circle in reverse.  Near the very end of the piece, find two small children and have them scream at you.
Not the same as just sitting there and listening to the music, but you have measured the resource.    
In conclusion, yes, please replace your light bulb with something more energy-efficient. 
--Mitchell Hegman

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


What if, when the time arrives for such things, the ultimate philosophical question is: “Which came first, the chicken or some bastard with a club wanting to kill it?”
--Mitchell Hegman

Monday, July 9, 2012


I sometimes lie supine on my living room floor and allow my big cat to rest his head on the upturned and cupped palm of my hand.   With my eyes shut, his steady purring feels like entire generations of life caught in my palm and sifting right through my fingers: births, deaths, loves, play, cats stalking amid tall grass, and one dog trying to rush in—only to get stuck there with a large stick sideways in its mouth at a too small opening. 
--Mitchell Hegman

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Ariel, My Dear, I Have Been Thinking Again

Ariel, my dear, I have concluded that distance is simply another human invention—one that is only narrowly more significant than the yo-yo, but slightly less important than a soup ladle.
To hell with distance.  I say we make a new invention.  We might call it “spontaneous togetherness.”  This is all based on sunrise, my hot tub, and the nighthawks.
Early this morning, I climbed into my hot tub and watched a cloudless sunrise blush against the starry night.  There, in the first light, nighthawks began to plunge from the cobalt skies.  I swear, Ariel, they appeared from nothing but empty space and came swooping down all around me.
Why can’t we do that?
Yesterday, I drove to an aspen grove high in the mountains above Alice Creek.  Once there, I found a log stretched across the understory and I sat watching the leaves spin like a million coins in a pine-scented breeze.  Naturally, I thought of you.
If I go there again, will you please find a way to fall from the sky and find me?
--Mitchell Hegman

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Montana Secondary 435

Highway 435 tosses about somewhat fitfully as it finds a way through the ranches and ICBM missile sites where the Great Plains greet the Rocky Mountains.  The missiles—tipped with nuclear warheads—were planted deep underground in the rolling grasslands and aimed at the Soviet Union during the peak of the Cold War.
In a sense, the highway straddles two worlds.
Montana 435 is the line of demarcation between the Rocky Mountain Front and the Great Plains, which continue on for nearly 1000 miles more before bumping into the Great Lakes region.  The Mountains virtually erupt from the prairie here.  And just beyond the first overthrust wall of stony peaks lies the Bob Marshall wilderness, one of the most pristine roadless areas in the lower 48 states.
As you swing through the scarps and swales and gentle rises, you occasion upon small squares of land fenced by chain-link and devoid of flora within.  There, under the gravel and dust cover,  lie the missiles.
On a rare day, you might chance upon a herd of elk spilling across the prairie and skirting around a missile site.
Two worlds meet.   

                                                            Rear View (Great Plains)

Front Range of the Rocky Mountains

Missle Site (photo: JJ Richey)
--Mitchell Hegman

Friday, July 6, 2012


As I have said before, the best part of work is often the drive just getting there and returning home again.  This morning I have posted a photograph of Lake Helena taken while on my commute through ranch and farm country.
--Mitchell Hegman

Thursday, July 5, 2012


Over the years, friends and family have given me a variety of books designed to instill within me—in one way or another—some form of self-awareness or healing.  Some of these books were expected to spur spiritual epiphanies within me.  Others were more of your obligatory self-help volumes intended to school me on how to nurture a positive attitude which might then sow seeds for a sort of metaphysical flower garden filled with everlasting orchids and sunflowers. 
One recent gift was a copy of A Grief Observed by C. S. Lewis.  That book, obviously enough, followed the passing of my wife and was wholly intended to help me cope with that horrid loss.
Thank you.
More recently, someone offered me a copy of a book titled The Five Love Languages.   I have picked up and read through parts of this book on several occasions.  While The Five Love Languages might well be heavy with what seem thread-worn, if not obvious, advice on how to keep love alive by being sweet with others—the repetition of obvious points has great value.
Repetition is always a winner.
Finally, I really enjoy writing, but am in no way interested in authoring a book of this ilk.  But I do think I have something to add to all of this. 
Here it is:
Today, when you meet someone you like or truly love, make nice with them.  Repeat this behavior as often as possible.       
--Mitchell Hegman

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Tips on Protecting Your Saxophone

·         Never use your saxophone as a hammer.
·         Do not use your saxophone for digging earthworms.
·         If you scale Mount Everest, leave your saxophone with the base-camp cook.
·         Do not take your saxophone four-wheeling.
·         Do not time-travel with your saxophone.
·         Never use your saxophone as a device for trimming your hedges.
·         Your saxophone is not an emergency flotation device.
·         Do not use your saxophone as a punctuation mark when you write.
·         Sleep with your saxophone only on a limited basis.
--Mitchell Hegman

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Montana Wildflowers by Name

To See:
Springbeauty, Snow-on-the-Mountain, Shooting Stars, Goldeneye, Selfheal, Blue-eyed Mary, Wild Rose, Star Tulip, Glacier Lily, Fireweed, Montana Blue-Eyed Grass, Bitterroot

To Eat and Drink:
Sugarbowls, Field Mint, Trapper’s Tea, Blue Lettuce, Skunk Cabbage, Nodding Onion, Tumble Mustard, Pepperweed, Selfheal, Butter-and-Eggs, Strawberry, Raspberry, Huckleberry, Candy Stick, Oregon Grape, Buttercup

To Ponder:
Solomon’s Seal, Fire Wheels, Prairie Smoke, Mule’s Ear, Selfheal, Goldenrod, Parrot’s Beak, Nightshade, Virgin’s Bower, Britton Scullcap, Pipsissewa, Kinnikinnik, Twinberry, Blue Forget-Me-Not, Locoweed, Pearly Everlasting,  Pussytoes

To Wear:
Fairy Slippers, Lady Slippers, Gay Feather.

To Feel:
Mountain Spray, Kittentails, Bedstraw,

To Use:
Paintbrush, Devil’s Club, Jacob’s Ladder, Selfheal, Queen’s Cup, Parry’s Catchfly, Bottlebrush

To Hear:
Bluebells, Monkeyflower, Mule’s Ear

To Dance With (for Ariel):
Heather, Dusty Maiden, Old Man of the Mountain, Kittentails, Mountain Lover, Wood Nymph, Selfheal, Blue-eyed Mary, Pipsissewa, Kinnikinnik
--Mitchell Hegman

Monday, July 2, 2012


We bed in lightning flash and distant thunder.
We sleep amongst a gallery of light-year stars and wandering planets.
We wake to blue mountains, under blue skies, with scarves of mist all around us. 
--Mitchell Hegman

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Version 2.0

Birds of a feather flock together, which means that a well-placed shot will drop most of them.
--Mitchell Hegman