Photography And Half-Thoughts By Mitchell Hegman

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

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Smelted Down

What if, once we smelt everything down to the essential truth, crickets are just standing around waiting for a good reason to jump and the electrical industry is unable to drive the cost of installed solar photovoltaic systems below $3.50 a watt without incentives?
For some weird reason, these have become the sort of questions that keep me awake at night.
--Mitchell Hegman

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Not Necessarily a Great Idea

Idea for a short story:
A small band of nomads (possibly all members with bright red hair) decides by popular vote that couples within the clan will stop making love and shall make Denver omelets instead.  The story opens with a man and a woman—obviously a couple—kidnapping an omelet with extra mushrooms from a roadside eatery.
--Mitchell Hegman

Monday, July 29, 2013


I try not to let much bother me.  I understand that, sad things happen.  Bad things happen.  Strange things happen.
Sometimes, we even manage to locate a good reason for all of that.
However, when the dark, angular shadow of the deer crossing the plain in front of my house separates from the deer itself, runs the opposite direction, and leaps down into a gulley…that bothers me a little.
--Mitchell Hegman

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Something Bolted Away in the Forest Today

A small creature finally unnerved as I knelt in a bright green wash of huckleberry bushes picking ripened berries and dropping them into my bucket.  I did not see the creature, but heard it zipping off through the dry lilies and duff where it bolted away underneath the layers of understory growth.  I saw the beargrass and huckleberry plants waggle along the arrowlike trajectory of escape—across the forest floor from right where I knelt and then up a small incline of mixed grass, brush and upright timber.
Bigger than a mouse. 
Smaller than a fox.
A trail of wavering plants remained before me for a few seconds. Some of the berries on the jostled bushes swayed like ringing bells.   I could smell freshly released dust and the ever constant perfume of ripe huckleberries.
Though I have always had in mind that I belonged in the forest, the thought stuck me—as I paused from picking berries—that the forest may not be convinced I belong there. Still, I smiled and listened to the sound of a nearby stream flouncing down through the stones and mossy deadfall.  Far above me, clouds pushed on.
This, without end.  
--Mitchell Hegman

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Poor Remedy

A blonde woman with an obvious facelift, fake breasts, and an insatiable sexual appetite is likely poor remedy for most ailments a man might have, but if provided with enough time a man will muster the proper disorder requiring such a remedy.
--Mitchell Hegman 

Friday, July 26, 2013

Morning on the Yellowstone River

Yesterday, I drove about 400 miles from Miles City to my home in Helena.  Eastern Montana is lovely right now.  Much of that part of the state has received above-average rainfall. The grass is tall and green in most places.  In a few spots, the purple echinacea is in still in bloom.
Where the landscape in Western Montana is defined by the mountain ranges, Eastern Montana is defined by the rivers that traverse through—primarily the Missouri in the north, the Musselshell in the central region, and the Yellowstone in the south.  The rivers have carved upside-down mountains across the plains.  The rivers have helped whittle the strange rock formations.  The rivers feed green into the wide, pan valleys.
I followed the Yellowstone for the first hour and then later fell in with the Musselshell. I drove through Roundup, on to Harlowton, and then into my home in the Big Belt Mountains.  I have posted photographs I captured of the Yellowstone River and the broad valley near Rosebud.

--Mitchell Hegman 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Naked Shark Repo Man

Last night I watched Naked and Afraid on the Discovery Channel.  The show is a survival challenge.   The twist on Naked and Afraid, however, is that two strangers—a survivalist man and a survivalist woman—are plunked down in various landscapes and must work together to survive.  And it is not always easy.  In one episode, as example, a man sunburned his winky.
Devastating.  The man nearly removed himself from the challenge.
I got to thinking that the Discovery might be able to spice up their existing stock of programs by adding a similar twist to the lineup.  Imagine these shows:
The Nakedness Catch
Naked Shark Repo Man
Naked  Really Dirty Jobs
Fast n’ Loud n’ Naked
If you are listening, Discovery Channel, I have my remote in my hand right now.
--Mitchell Hegman

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


Makoshika State Park is located only about a mile from the town of Glendive, Montana, the town to which I awakened this morning.  The name Makoshika is a Lakota (Native American) term for “badlands.”   The park encompasses over 11,400 acres, making it the largest state park in Montana.  Within the park, you enter ground where Tyrannosaurus rex once stomped about.  In fact, the first T. rex ever discovered was found in Montana and unearthed between 1902 and 1905 at a “badland” formation similar to Makoshika.  Fossils of T. rex have been found in Makoshika as well.

“Otherworldly,” is about the only word that adequately describes Makoshika.  Here the Yellowstone River and the elements of wind and rain have exposed sediments and stone dating back 65 million years—the Age of the Reptiles.  The varying layers of mudstones, sandstones, clays, and shale have allowed for some of the most beautiful natural sculpting in the entire world.

Both photos are from Wikipedia.

--Mitchell Hegman

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Largest Snowflake in the World

I am currently in Miles City, Montana.  The most interesting thing about Miles City (as found on Wikipedia) is not the historical connections to the Battle of Little Bighorn, the connection to the great cattle drives of the Old West, or the world famous bucking horse sale that takes place here every spring.  The best information is this: “Guinness World Records reports that the largest natural snowflake ever measured, 15 inches in diameter, was recorded at Fort Keogh on 28 January 1887.” 
Fort Keogh was the first form of Miles City, named after Miles Keogh, one of the soldiers killed during the battle of Little Bighorn in 1876.  Captain Keogh rode the horse called “Comanche,” the sole surviving member of General Custer’s command.  The fort was established immediately following the battle and was founded where the Tongue River joins the Yellowstone.  Miles City formed a bit later when General Nelson Miles, the commander of Fort Keogh, evicted merchants who were selling booze to his soldiers and turning them into a raucous mob.  The evicted merchants established what became Miles City about two miles down the banks of the Yellowstone River.
Still, I am fascinated by the thought of that snowflake.   Naturally, the claim of the snowflake is unsupported.  Nonetheless, I think I am going to run with this information and use it broadly.  
I have been trying to imagine watching a snowflake like that drop from the sky.
--Mitchell Hegman

Monday, July 22, 2013

Fireflies: Pretty Dangerous

The genetic defect in me that forces me to pick up pretty rocks and put them in my pocket also spurs me to read weird factoid stuff (which I do not retain).  So last night I got to thinking about how, at fifty-two years of age, I found myself chasing my first firefly near the Tennessee River in Knoxville, Tennessee as my adult daughter watched in great chagrin.  Thinking about that led me to reading about fireflies on the web.  I discovered that one species of fireflies is sometimes called a femme fatale firefly.  The female femme fatale uses her pretty lights to wink out the sexiest signals of other species of fireflies.  The males of other species are highly attracted; and when they swoop in to check out the hot babe…
Well, you know what happens.

--Mitchell Hegman

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Yes, to Stars Kissing the Silver Moon

Yes, to women in summer dresses of white and yellow.
Yes, to the common names for flowers, to shooting stars and baby’s breath and forget-me-not.
Yes, to removing the flexing moth from my coffee cup before I drink from it.
Yes, to white sand beaches at the foot of tall jade-colored mountains.
Yes, to hearing the low music made by mountain creeks noshing blue and green stones.
Yes, to waves breaking white over aquamarine.
Yes, to the summer breeze running silk across exposed arms and legs.
Yes, to the sweet scent of linden blossoms and the throng of honeybees humming from the clouds of broad leaves.
Yes, to one more day under the sun.
Yes, to stars kissing the silver moon.
Yes, to kissing the women wearing white summer dresses.
--Mitchell Hegman

Saturday, July 20, 2013


Tessellate: to form of small squares or blocks, as floors and walls; form or arrange a checkered pattern.   
Alt-J, Tessellate: the song.   (If this player does not work, please try the link: )

--Mitchell Hegman

Friday, July 19, 2013

List of Positive Attributes

—I have never purposefully killed a butterfly.  All apologies to houseflies.
—My fingernails are my own.
—I know how to fold towels in a pretty way.
—I am capable of counting to one-hundred.
—I pre-wash dishes before stacking them in the dishwasher.
—I am not judgmental.
—Most of my family can almost count to one-hundred.
—My conscience may not be clear in a technical sense, but my memory is poor enough that I don’t recall being a horrible person.
--Mitchell Hegman

Thursday, July 18, 2013

There a Storm

This time of year, isolated rainstorms rove through the mountains and scour the open valleys of Montana unattended.   Often a storm cell will have blue skies all around it.  These rogue storms make for some of the most spectacular skies.  Last night, one such storm swept overtop Helena just as the Rocky Mountains drew in the sun.   I am posting a photo I took from the front of my house.
--Mitchell Hegman

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


Sometimes, while driving along the highway, I need to remind myself as I whisk past reflector after reflector alongside the pavement, that the aliens I see balanced atop the posts are most likely not real.
--Mitchell Hegman

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

End-of-Career Sale

Chainsaw juggler’s glove.  Left hand glove only.  Discount for not asking about the right hand.
--Mitchell Hegman

Monday, July 15, 2013


Imagine how different the world would be if kisses were made of ceramics and we stored them on shelves in our homes.
--Mitchell Hegman

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Arrastra Creek

While taking high mountain drive near my cabin yesterday, I stopped to stick a toe into the water at one of the creeks.  Here is a photo of the creek bottom.
--Mitchell Hegman

Saturday, July 13, 2013


Just before sunset last night, I found myself sitting alone in my hot tub as the air around me began to sparkle with silver raindrops.  A sunshower had swayed down from some unseen clouds behind my house.  Rain fell where I sat basking in the last of the day’s sunshine.  The raindrops felt cool as they landed with the impact of miniature pillows against my face.
After about five minutes, the sunshine rain eased into a misty blue and a rainbow appeared over the nearby lake and mountains.
That was mine.
--Mitchell Hegman

Friday, July 12, 2013

One Drive Home, Two Illusions

Often times, as I drive home, my mind works overtime processing the events of the day.  The road is familiar and I drift off into a kind of lazy autopilot.  I have sometimes arrived home and pulled into my garage suddenly realizing that I could not recall a single significant detail from the drive.  The entire time is blank to me.  That is a little frightening.
Today was not like that.
Yes, I drifted off and allowed my car to take me home.  For long stretches I have zero memories of the road.  Probably, I drove poorly.  At my cause, there might be a motorcyclist in the ditch.   Maybe a mailbox is laid over.
Then I saw the man.
The man was fishing along Lake Helena as I drove across the Causeway.  Wow, I thought as I drove ever closer, what a weird shirt he is wearing.  Super-tight at the shoulders, but hanging like frilly curtains overtop his belt in spots.  An earthy tone, too. 
Once I reached within a car-length of the man, I realized he was not wearing a shirt at all.  I was looking at flesh.
One word stretched here: Oooooooooh.
I drove on beyond the Causeway and then over the hills into the ranchlands.  My mind wandered again. Dust rolled away from my car and swirled into the alfalfa fields, becoming earthy-toned ghosts of horses galloping aslant. 
Then I saw the tiny flecks of paper tumbling in small groups across the road at a distance in front of me.
That is some weird-assed litter, I thought.  Where would all those little pieces of paper come from?  Not until I drew within a car-length of the flecks did I realize that the flecks were somewhat windblown cabbage butterflies fluttering from one field of alfalfa to the next.  
One thought: I may need to hire a driver.
--Mitchell Hegman

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Another Anvil Falls from the Sky

The loss of a loved one is devastating.  We can say that.  We all know that.  In fact, in the days and weeks immediately following the death of someone deeply loved, most of us literally live in sorrow.  In those first few weeks after I lost my wife (the most beautiful woman on this planet while she lived) I could not do or see anything that did not deluge me with thoughts of her. 
I hurt all of the time.
As time went on, the sorrow started to come and go.  My continuing life distracted me.  I began to live a fairly normal emotional life, but still found the world filled with triggers and paths that led me to internal places of deep, intense grief.  On occasion, I found myself breaking-down as I changed bedding.   During our last sixteen years together, after Uyen became disabled, Uyen and I did this together.  I still think of Uyen every time I finish filling the gas tank in our car and twist the clicking cap to a full count of six.  That is a path.  I follow the path of her reminding me to make the gas cap click, to her being diagnosed with cancer, to her becoming unable to sit-up in bed, to her taking her final breath as I held her hand.
That path makes me ache.
These days, I don’t hurt all of the time.  I don’t even hurt most of the time.  I am really pretty happy.  I enjoy the new business I have launched.  I am busy.  I have new friends and I have all of my dear old friends.  When I encounter one of the old sorrow triggers, I am able to turn aside the freight-train of emotion that was once released by it.  I no longer follow those dark paths that descend down to bedpans, morphine, and that final night.   Every so often, however, an anvil falls on me: intense, heavy, sudden, overwhelming.  From out of nowhere—perhaps when I am simply driving along—my wife’s perfect smile fills the expanse around me. 
At once, an anvil of solid grief crushes me.
Sometimes, I pull-over alongside the road so I can step outside and maybe hear a bird singing or a dog barking.  Maybe I can smell the new grass.  Anything will do.
Then I drive on.
--Mitchell Hegman

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Dissimilar, to Sacrifice, to the Same

If you press together two dissimilar types of metal and hold them in contact for any length of time in the presence of water, one metal will begin to steal electrons from the other.  This theft is something called galvanic reaction.  In more common terms we call this theft of atomic sub-parts corrosion.    
There is an actual attraction here, mind you, but this has a rather one-sided tenor about it.  In scientific terms, one metal becomes the anode, while the other assumes the role of cathode.   The cathode is the one that pulls the electrons.  The anode sacrifices electrons.
Cathodes build castles of themselves by robbing from all around them.  Much consideration is given to these relationships when constructing metal contraptions out in the elements.  As example, the metal anchor that fastens the river-crossing bridge to the metal imbeds at the concrete base at river’s edge will do far better if a cathode as opposed to an anode.
Something about achieving balance here—an attempt to balance “charges.”  Deeper than that, this is an attempt to settle between attraction and repulsion.   In a sense, almost everything in the universe is some product of attraction and repulsion.  Our use of electricity and magnetism might be too obvious an example.  But all things are either pulling or pushing against the thing immediately next to them. Think here in larger terms: Earth and Moon.
In some cases, atoms might actually settle the pushing-pulling dispute by sharing electrons.  In this way, they achieve a kind of peaceful (if not powerful) balance.  This is called covalent bonding.  In covalent bonding the atoms have locked their arms together and now steam ahead as a whole unit.  Joined together, they share the same space.
All around us, separate things are either locking themselves together or working to tear each other apart. 
This never stops.
Big things and little things.  
Metal things and people things.
Some form of balance must be struck.
--Mitchell Hegman
Note: I have written about this previously, but I am not opposed to an echo now and again…

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Just These Three

—A wall of water is no defense against drowning.
 —An inflated ego will not lift a pebble.
—The sole survivor of a horrific plane crash walks away as doomed as those who perished.
--Mitchell Hegman

Monday, July 8, 2013

Amid Red and Yellow Flowers

On a lovely and remote tropical island the half-naked natives celebrate by killing pigs and then dancing amid red and yellow flowers.  The pigs are not fond of celebrations.
--Mitchell Hegman

Sunday, July 7, 2013

If the Earth Begins to Wobble

This night sky has purpled at the edges and the stars have all begun to crawl away, dimming.  The half-moon has tangled to a solid stop in the thorns of a dead tree.
By day, the old man put down his last horse—the one he called Ginger.  Once, that mare saved his life.  Snake bite and a fast gallop to the fence-lands.  The irony now left only to this bruised and faltering night.
The eyes of a thing will always die last.  The final tear immobile at the rim of the socket as the iris slowly clouds through like a pool of water downstream from a muddy crossing.
He rode through a dream of hot needles while clinging to the mares golden mane on the day he lived.  Later, he married badly and planted his best seeds in dust.   
If the Earth begins to wobble now, to what shall the old man cling?   
--Mitchell Hegman

Saturday, July 6, 2013


Posted today is a photograph of some slate that I found freshly exposed in a cut alongside a mountain road following heavy rains.  The straight lines caught my eye as I was driving along.  I am always drawn to patterns in nature.  The patterns and lines formed in the slate are fascinating to me.  They convey a perfect sense of mechanical pressure.
I have slightly over-saturated the colors of this photograph.
--Mitchell Hegman

Friday, July 5, 2013

I am:

Thankful that my feet still reach the ground when I step from bed each morning.
Happy that a chipmunk was not nesting in my barbeque when I lighted it yesterday afternoon (unlike that time I caught one on fire and it leapt free when opened the barbeque lid to see why the barbeque was smoking so much and smelled funny).
Fortunate that the fillet knife I fell on in that fishing boat years ago only stabbed an inch or so into my ass.
Afraid to stop working.
Just plain happy most of the time.
About due for a haircut (and even a really bad one may qualify as an improvement).
Considering learning to juggle long knives.
Tempted to pack up my essentials (toothbrush, Jesus Christ Superstar DVD, ragged sweatpants, orange Montana Electrical JATC shirt, Pilosec) and move to some tiny isolated town here in Montana so I can spend a few weeks living there…just to see what that feels like.
Thinking Ekalaka, Montana.
Still willing to pull down my pants, upon request, and point to the scar on my ass where the fillet knife stabbed into my butt.
--Mitchell Hegman

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Two Barking Dogs

Just as two barking dogs will never become a purring cat, an economist will never transform his gibberish into anything that makes sense to a man unable to find work.
--Mitchell Hegman

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

An Idea That Never Caught On

Preventative Snow-Plowing:  Sending out snow plow trucks to plow the roads before the snow falls.
--Mitchell Hegman

Monday, July 1, 2013

Now the Light

I sit listening to Depeche Mode as I watch the first soft strokes of daylight paint lime across the long, grassy prairie beyond my drive.  The distant mountains remain ghost-blue while nighthawks plunge into the dawn from the edge of darkness.  The nighthawks drop like black stones cast from the stars.  The birds unfurl and transform into flying chevrons just before they strike the earth.
Incessantly early.   Wholly alone again.
I feel the coming of light.
I feel the drums inside me.
--Mitchell Hegman