Photography And Half-Thoughts By Mitchell Hegman

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

Friday, August 31, 2012

And on Occasions a Phone Call

Sometimes, when I catch someone dialing-out on their smart phone, I will tap the person making the call and ask: “Hey what are you doing with that camera?”
These days, phones have become cameras, texting machines, and devices for browsing the internet.  On rare occasions phones are used to make phone calls.
I have posted a photograph of some firewheels in my sister’s flower bed.  I used my texting machine to snap the photo.  I sent a copy to Hawaii by text message before posting here.

--Mitchell Hegman

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Making a Point

You cannot have a point of light but for the darkness all around it.
--Mitchell Hegman

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Making a Difference

One person really can make a difference—especially if he is the only person with a firearm.
--Mitchell Hegman

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Man on the Moon

My father owned a cabin in the remote Salish Mountains of Northwestern Montana.  The cabin sat in a deep forest between steep mountains.  On the night of July 20, 1969, my father and I stepped outside of the cabin, walked out into an open place in front, and looked up at the moon, which floated amongst some tall tamaracks high above.
I was thirteen at that time.
On that night Neil Armstrong, commander of the Apollo 11 mission, became the first man to step on the surface of the moon.  That is why we stood there, looking up.  In a gesture that marked the humility of this great man, the first thing Neil Armstrong did, when he landed on the moon, was to leave a patch in commemoration of all the NASA astronauts and Soviet cosmonauts who had died in action.
That steely moon now touched by man.
Over this last weekend, Neil Armstrong died while surrounded by his family.
His footprints remain untouched on the face of the moon today and may remain so for the next ten-thousand years.
--Mitchell Hegman

Monday, August 27, 2012

Overtime and Undertime

On occasion, my mind will work overtime.  I recall, as illustration, spending the better part of two weeks drawing, calculating, redrawing, and recalculating the same DC theory combination circuit to solve for all voltage drops.  I must have reworked the same problem fifty times just to ensure that I understood every step.
Contrarily (and you might argue more commonly), my mind drops into something I call “undertime” mode.   In undertime mode my mind stops driving the car and sort of drifts off the roadway and into the alfalfa field where it then randomly bumps into stuff.
Goofy thoughts occur. 
Today, as example, when my mind floated off as I read an email, I chanced on a “Q” in the upper case somewhere in the text.  I stopped reading and stared at the Q.
I am now ruined for life.
In undertime mode I realized that the capital Q had a tongue and was trying to lick the letter next to it.
The letter Q will never be the same again.
--Mitchell Hegman


Sunday, August 26, 2012


The scientific definition of “matter” is, basically, anything that occupies space and has weight.  Interestingly, this also describes many members of the workforce. 
--Mitchell Hegman

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Occupational Hazard

Once they discover it, most mathematicians become utterly obsessed with solving the following yet unresolved equation:   A² + B- 3 π = oral sex 
--Mitchell Hegman

Friday, August 24, 2012

Thursday, August 23, 2012

This One Begins Where the Last Dust of Today Settles

After dark, my dear, the commonest moths become precious as they feverishly sky-dance against the sharp points of the August turning into September stars.  In the morning, though, I find the moths clinging to the outside of my windows, folded and rolled together like miniature newspapers, stock still, their lives nearly spent.
Moths have but a single, brief life.  But I think we have been granted two lives.
Our first lives, lovely as they were, crashed with loves lost and tragedies internalized.  This new one might possibly begin where the last dust of today settles into the row of pines just beyond my home.  What if we were standing just there as the moths first released into the pink of dusk?
Might we begin there?
But, my dear, we can barely try if we are not standing there together.
--Mitchell Hegman

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


Today, as I picked up a box with eye-drops for my recently irritated left eye, I noticed written on the box: “Rx only.”   Probably, like everyone, I have noticed “Rx” on drug store signs and associated with prescriptions and never really given that any real thought. 
How did that come to be, I wondered?
Rx?    I really should know what that means.
Really Expensive?
Sometimes names are a tricky business.  We nick-named my friend Butt-Stain, for example, on account of—   On second thought, that may not be a helpful illustration.  Take, instead, the word “nincompoop.” The word is a descriptive term for a foolish person and sounds like three things jammed together.  Some scholars place the origins of the word in the Bible, associated with Nicodemus, the Pharisee who clashed with Christ in the Gospel of John.  Other scholars link the origins to the Dutch word “poep,” which became “poop” in English.
Yes, THAT very poop!
Well, there is quite a spread in origins between the Holy Scripture and the outhouse.  The truth (and a whole lot of other stuff) likely lies someplace in-between those purported origins.   Furthermore, words often drift in meaning.  I recall the day when people used “sick” to describe someone who felt ill.  Somewhere along the line the word found a new placement.  You may hear someone exclaim, “Man that was a sick move!” after watching an athlete perform an astoundingly apt feat.  Sick can also be a good thing.         
Naturally, to find an answer to the origins of Rx, I consulted Wikipedia (which like a gypsy lover cannot consistently be trusted) for an answer.  According to Wikipedia, Rx is a symbol for prescriptions originating from a medieval abbreviation of the Latin word “recipe.”  The origins of that word are rooted in “take” or “to take.”
That simple.
Sick, dude.
--Mitchell Hegman

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Love Calculator

Along with vast resources for finding photos of men mauling rabbits and seemingly infinite opportunities for shoe shopping, the internet may provide you with valuable informational tools.  In my work as an instructor in the electrical industry, I have found zillions of resources for technical tips and information.
I am particularly fond of the “online calculators” out there.  Take my word for it; some of the calculations required in my line of work are complicated.  Many require the actual application of trigonometry and algebra and terms such as “voltage nominal” and “fault-current, symmetrical”.
I know…crazy stuff.
There are many calculators available for sizing conduit relative to the size of the wire used.  Others are very handy for determining the size and output of solar photovoltaic systems.  One of my favorites will determine the fault current available at various points in an electrical system—beginning at the power provider’s transformer outside and ending at your plug-in air freshener.  Bottom line, this will tell you how big the fireball will be when a fault occurs. 
Good to know.
The layers upon layers of variables and mathematical computations required for fault-currents are mind-boggling.  One must consider the magnetic properties of the raceways (pipes), the type of wire used, the length and size of the wires, the type of supply transformer, the voltage, and on.  The online calculators have distilled all of this down to inputting six fields and pressing a button.
So, I asked myself, “Self, if there is a calculator for this, might a calculator exist for everything?”  
The next logical step was keying into a search engine. Two words:  love calculator.  Bingo!  A whole page of results.   I clicked on the very first one found—from Dr. Love.  Easy as pie.  Only the name of a female and the name of a male required for the calculation.
I typed in two names.  I poked the “calculate” button.  A graphic swirl and… boom!   The answer: 56% chance of love, though stormy.  I input two new names.   80% Chance with sweetness abounding.
Might true love and happiness be simply a name-change away?
--Mitchell Hegman

Monday, August 20, 2012

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Questions, More Questions

·         Have you ever hidden money in the freezer?
·         Have you ever given a girl’s name to a male pet of any kind?
·         Did you remember that the bones of birds are hollow?
·         Do you wipe your kitchen counter more than once each day?  More than once an hour?
·         When you argue with someone, do you dredge through all history?
·         Do you consider yourself good-looking?
·         When someone near to you dies, do you tell others you lost them?
·         Did you sometimes decide on a purchase mainly based on free shipping?
·         If you saw some you did not really care for in non-life-threatening distress alongside a highway would you stop to assist them?
·         Can you describe the basic difference between “cat” people and “dog” people?
·         Do you sometimes finish reading expositions that you find uninteresting merely because you started them?
·         If you could forever ban one song from the planet, what song would that be?   
--Mitchell Hegman

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Friday, August 17, 2012

When the Wind Blows

On April 10, 1996 a wind speed of 253 miles-per-hour was recorded in Barrow Island, Australia.  The wind, resulting from a typhoon, is the strongest recorded to date.
I can only imagine what a wind that strong might do.  Twice in my life I have been standing in a pine forest when strong winds toppled a tree only a few feet from where I stood.  I have seen roofs lifted against stormy skies and yard furniture shuffled into jumbles.  I have seen photographs of dimension lumber driven into concrete block by fierce gusts.
A couple of nights ago, a terrific windstorm assaulted my house.  The winds arose quite suddenly, causing my whole house to crack its knuckles.  Pressure punched at my ears.  The linden tree in my front yard smeared into an overwrought stance, the leaves hissing.  At the time, I had several windows cracked partially open for fresh air.  Fearing that the winds might rip the panes and sashes away, I quickly trotted around the mostly unlit rooms of my home and cranked shut the windows.
Soon after, my house plunged into darkness when the power lines slapped together and shorted-out the supply grid someplace in the east valley.  My house remained without power for many hours.
I did not notice until this morning the pine needles forced into the corner of my screen.
Most Interesting thing?   The nearest pine tree is at least 100 feet away.

--Mitchell Hegman

Thursday, August 16, 2012


The local raccoons think that my purpose is to feed them birdseed.  Really, my purpose is to drive to work slowly in the morning and anger everyone in a hurry behind me. 
We all have a purpose.
Some of us slow down with ours.
I like the raccoons because they don’t run away when I step outside and talk to them.  “What’s with the burglar costumes?” I asked.  “And all those claws?”  The raccoons usually appear as a whole family, threading up through the sage and tall grass single file—the little ones a bit behind at the end of the line.  The raccoons seem harmless enough but I always keep in the back of my mind that biologists have documented white-tailed deer eating baby songbirds when they chance upon them in a nest. 
--Mitchell Hegman

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Nice Ass

Consider.  The statement, “she has a nice ass,” is entirely appropriate if a woman is selling a donkey and you are in the market for such.
--Mitchell Hegman

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Problem

The problem with people who never finish anything that they start is that
--Mitchell Hegman

Monday, August 13, 2012

Imaginary Epitaph

And so ended his habit of always running to investigate unusual sounds.
--Mitchell Hegman

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Fire and Rain

The landscapes and lifestyles of Montana are shaped by fire and rain.  This holds true for the mountainous western half and the eastern plains.  This year has been brutal for eastern Montana.  Lightning sparked wildfires have forced the evacuation of two towns.  Fires in the Ash Creek Complex have, to date, rampaged through some 246,500 acres, killing hundreds of cattle and burning many homes in the process.  The Rosebud Complex is approaching 173,000 acres.  My cousin who lives there had one of the fires in the Ash Creek Complex, driven by 60 mile-per-hour winds, burn right up to her flowerbeds.  Only the efforts of the local fire department saved the structures.
We have our own fires here in the mountains of western Montana.  The whole state was pressed into a haze of blue smoke for most of last week.  Yesterday, as we picked huckleberries near the hick peaks, planes and choppers flew fire-fighting missions directly above us as they tried to tamp down a blaze only five miles away near the Bob Marshall Wilderness.  Thus far, that fire has tended to rage a little by day and then fall back at night.
Our huckleberry places have so far been spared.
You cannot drive much of any distance in Montana without seeing a spot near the road where a wildfire has blackened part of the landscape.  The mountainsides and sky-washed rolls of more open country often have sections that look like a bed of giant nails—patterned with the upright trunks of dead trees—victims of a fire long ago.  Just as often, new young and healthy trees grow in the places where wildfires once raged through.    
If you live here, you live by juggling fire.
Today, I have posted two photographs taken from the same place at roughly the same time of the morning.  One, taken two weeks ago, shows how fire alters our skies.  The other, taken just yesterday, is a manifestation of rain.

--Mitchell Hegman

Saturday, August 11, 2012


I recall many years ago—not all that long after my graduation from high school—listening to a song while attending a proverbial weekend house party.  In fact, I recall the very house and the very song and the shimmering heat of that summer’s night.
The song was “Astronomy” by Blue Oyster Cult.  And as the song began to play I started to quietly sing along as best I could:
The clock strikes twelve and moondrops burst
Out at you from their hiding place
Like acid and oil on a madman's face
His reason tends to fly away

Like lesser birds on the four winds
Like silver scrapes in May
Now the sands become a crust
And most of you have gone away
Somewhere at about this point I turned to the person beside me and said: “Man, I really like the lyrics in this song.”
Okay.  A few points before we press on.  My friends and I referred to ourselves as “the group.”  Typically, if you found one of us, another thirteen or so were certain to be in the immediate vicinity.  We were a kind of mobile crowd that always stuck together.  Some of the people in the group liked the person next to me.  I did not.  He had hollow eyes.  If you looked into his eyes you might think you were looking down inside two dark brown beer bottles.
Nothing there.
He said little and laughed only when someone else got hurt.
So, after I told him I liked the lyrics, he sat quietly without any reaction for a bit, and then he responded without any given inflection: “I never listen to the words in songs,” he said.  He then stared at me.
How does that work, I wondered?  Not listening to the lyrics?
I was not all that surprised when I heard, just a few years after, that he wound up in prison for rape and attempted kidnapping.  
--Mitchell Hegman

Friday, August 10, 2012

Farm Accident

In a more perfect world a farm accident would mean inadvertently planting sweet potatoes in a corn field—not a small boy getting crushed under the wheels of a giant tractor driven by his grandfather or a young woman dying when her four wheeler tumbles as she is spraying hillside weeds.
--Mitchell Hegman

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Second Thing

In the name of science, sometimes animals are sacrificed and sometimes people are asked to have sex while electrodes are attached to them.   That second thing has potential.
--Mitchell Hegman

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Two Kinds of Love

I believe that in the matter of couples two kinds of love exist.  The first kind of love is driven by exuberance.   If flares quickly, but more often than not recedes.  The second kind of love is slow and oaken in growth.  This love grows steady (even leaving room to falter) but lasts.
The question is: do we have a choice between these?  And if we do, is the choice obvious?
--Mitchell Hegman

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Giant Eveningstar

By day, the giant eveningstar plant looks decidedly tall and weedy, definitely not an attractive subject for any objective photographer.  The eveningstars thrive where nothing else can survive: on the shale cuts along roadways, along the stony railroad beds, and clinging to sunbaked embankments.  By day, the plants garner no particular attention; but come August, the giant eveningstars begin to open their flowers each night just as the sun sinks into the western mountains.  Big as a child’s hand, the flowers come alive in the darkness with a lovely splay of soft-white petals and a bright yellow pyrotechnic explosion at the center.   The flowers fill the surrounding air with a conspicuously sweet-chemical scent.
The ugly duckling becomes swan.
On my way home following dinner at Canyon Ferry with my cousins, I stopped to admire the flowers.  I have posted a couple of pictures.

--Mitchell Hegman

Monday, August 6, 2012

Like Migratory Beasts

This year’s huckleberry yield is an embarrassment of riches—a season better than any I have ever seen.  The high mountain plants are tall and polka-dotted with berries that taste like the finest red wine.  I return from each day of picking with my hands purple and my back sore from constant picking.
Last year was horrible.  I found only a few sparse berries.   Even had the berries been plentiful I would have had a miserable time.
I did have a miserable time.
I lost Uyen only a couple of months before the season.  She loved going out after berries.   Given her fifteen year struggle with physical disabilities, Uyen could not enter the deadfall or deep woods, but we found ways to settle her into berry patches we found just off the mountain roads.  I would drop her into those and then wander the more rugged landscape around her.  Uyen did not like when I left her sight.  She called out my name on a regular basis and insisted that I respond.
Last year, without Uyen, I foraged deep into a cross-light forest, climbing over downed timber and stony jumbles.  I found few berries.  So I sat in a shaded place watching dust motes and flies ascending shafts of light.
Uyen did not call out my name and I sat there until tears began dropping into the shadows at my feet.
A bad year.
The huckleberries are amazing this year.  The mountains are filled with beautiful red patches of fireweed and light glowing along the deadfall on the forest floor and the call of birds.  Yesterday, I went gathering berries with two dear old friends.  We stuck together for the most part, penetrating far down into a wooded valley frequented by grizzly bears.  We teased one another, and filled our buckets as we pushed through the berry bushes like migratory beasts.
It is okay for me to go into the forest now.  And up the roughest mountain, too.
--Mitchell Hegman

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Children Drawn to the Creek

My cousin’s daughter married yesterday in a meadow along Spokane Creek in the easternmost section of the Prickly Pear (sometimes called Helena) Valley.  The creek is accompanied by tall cottonwood trees and tall grasses.  Light plays and dances there. 
Creeks have a way of drawing in children and one particular Mitchell Hegman.  I have posted photographic evidence of this. 

--Mitchell Hegman

Saturday, August 4, 2012

First Thought

I woke to the perfume of fresh rain swirling through my open windows following a dry band of July heat and I swear…that rain smelled like the nicest thing anyone ever said to me.
--Mitchell Hegman

Friday, August 3, 2012

Sexing Your Rabbit

The line between sexing your rabbit and pornography is a fine one.
Let me first explain how we arrived here.
I noticed a lot of rabbits running around as Bill and I mounted the not-entirely-secret mountain pass where we pick huckleberries.  Way more bunnies than normal.  My buddy Bill also seemed to notice.  As I recall, he said something like: “Geez, there are a lot of #*%$\@* rabbits up here!”
For some reason, I continued thinking about the rabbits long after my return home.  Mostly, I wondered about their breeding habits—specifically, how often can they produce offspring.  My poorly phrased search engine input revealed as the number one hit something about YouTube and videos of rabbits having sex.
Nope, not for me.
Then my eye caught this: How to Sex your Rabbits.  Yep, two of my key words right there.  Naturally, I clicked on the link to “sex my rabbits.”  
Hmmm.  Actual photo illustrations.  Human hands.  Fuzzy rabbit parts.  Not so fuzzy rabbit parts.  Lurid descriptions.
First, I will admit that I initially misread something and thought I was going to find out about “sexting” your rabbits, which sounded very interesting to me.  Secondly—you know what—if “sexing your rabbits” is not pornography it is, at a minimum, a minor mauling.  I was thinking about posting a photo from the site to show you, but thought better of that.
Never really did figure out how often rabbits can reproduce in the wild.
--Mitchell Hegman

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

My Favorite Streetlight

Seems I have a favorite of nearly everything. 
Favorite color: blue.
Favorite constellation: Orion.
Favorite number: 8.
Favorite Ariel: Murphy.
And here is my favorite streetlight at sunrise on August 1, 2012.

--Mitchell Hegman

What if a Raindrop Squashed a Mosquito and Nobody Cared?

By some accounts, William Clark, of the famous Lewis and Clark Expedition, spelled the word Mosquito some 26 different ways in the journals he wrote to document the exploration of the American West.  Probably, that number is an exaggeration but William Clark used well over a dozen spellings.  My personal favorite is this: musqueters.
The claim is made that in all of Mr. Clark’s attempts at spelling Mosquito he never once managed to get it correct.
Only this much is certain: the missquetors drove the entire Corps of Discovery nuts on warm summer evenings.
Interestingly, the musquiters still drive men a bit crazy to this day.  Yesterday, as example, I read in Science News that scientists recently went so berserk as to spend a great deal of money and time studying what happens when a raindrop hits a mosquito.
Well, duh, they get hugely wet!
Actually the scientists set up elaborate methods of filming drops of water striking the tiny insects.  The most critical concept to grasp here is that someone paid these folks to film water splashing against bugs.  I am currently seeking information on where I might submit my job application.
Is there such a thing as a mosquito fluffer?
One scientist remarked, after watching the film of a water drop hitting a mosquito in midair, that it “is like a midair collision between a human and a bus.”  Except, not really.  Buses don’t fly all that well.
Turns out that mosquitoes more-or-less ride the raindrops for a brief time when struck.  At some point, unless the ground reaches them first, the insects break free and stop at the nearest diner for a cup of coffee.
I feel so much better knowing that.   But I am still wondering where the white goes when snow melts.
--Mitchell Hegman