Photography And Half-Thoughts By Mitchell Hegman

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

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Visiting W. C. Fields

William Claude Dukenfield, better known as W. C. Fields, was famously misanthropic in his stage persona.  He often joked: “Anyone who hates children and animals can’t be all bad.”  In his personal life, though, he was far more thoughtful and dedicated to those around him.  He started on vaudeville stages as a juggler, but gradually incorporated comedy into his acts—including jokes about his own drinking.  His stage acting eventually led him to film.  I often visit pages of W. C. Fields quotes when I need a mental pick-me-up.
Here are four of his quotes:
—I like to keep a bottle of stimulant handy in case I see a snake, which I also keep handy.
—Remember, a dead fish can float downstream, but it takes a live one to swim upstream.
—Horse sense it the thing a horse has which keeps it from betting on people.
—I cook with wine, sometimes I even add it to food.

--Mitchell Hegman

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Sapphire Wash and Good Earth

Normally, I take a certain primal pride in such things as digging a hole.  If not pride, satisfaction.
Not this time.
This time, digging the hole felt like burrowing into my own heart.  I had to stop on several occasions to clear tears from my eyes.  As I dug into the earth I encountered some rocks bigger than my fist.  Those, I rolled down into the pine-smelling expanse of the hillside below me.  I also encountered two opaque quartz stones.  Those, I stacked atop the towel beside me. 
About two feet into the ground I encountered river washed sand and gravel.  The immediate country surrounding is famous for this particular type of wash.  This alluvium is often rich with sapphires.  I actually, found several sapphires in a pile of the alluvium we excavated for my nearby home.  Sapphires—formed by a mix of volcanic and metamorphic events deep in the earth—are both rare and precious.
But the towel beside me was the thing.  Wrapped in the towel was Carmel, my cat.  An unopened can of cat food, some catnip, and the two opaque stones I unearthed rested on the towel.
That girl walked down the hill to join me as I scooped the layer of river wash from the hole.  Soon after that, I stopped digging.  Before I could unwrap Carmel from the towel and place him at the bottom of the hole, I broke down entirely. Crumpled at the edge of the hole, I convulsed in messy, sobbing grief.
I didn’t want to put Carmel in the ground.
That, the final gesture.
After a while, I gingerly nestled Carmel at the bottom of the hole in the earth.  I placed the can of cat food next to one of his paws.  I placed the opaque stones near his head and then sprinkled catnip all around.  That girl had brought with her some yellow rose blossoms she’d snipped from a planter on the back deck of our house.  We each dropped a couple of those in the opened ground.  All these things, rare and precious.
I slowly, deliberately pushed the sapphire wash and good dirt back into the hole from which it came.

--Mitchell Hegman

Monday, May 29, 2017

Carmel (Rest in Peace)

When the light is full, I will bury Carmel in softest earth below the pines where this year’s robins sing their jeweled songs.
Carmel is no more.
Carmel began life as a street cat in the narrows between the row tenements of San Francisco.  He came to the relative wilds of Montana by way of my daughter.  Though ever cautious from his time on the street, he maintained a mild disposition.  For the first few years with me, he shrunk away from my reach.  Eventually, I, and others, earned his trust.
He sometimes scampered up and down the hall for no apparent reason.  He enjoyed sitting beside me when I drank my morning coffee and he liked high places.  Carmel loved food.  I mean he loved food.  I jokingly—no, make that lovingly—called him 20 pounds of housecat.
He was a big, sweet boy.
Carmel and I shared our final quality time together three days ago when he weakly ambled out to sit in the shade of a chokecherry.  I followed him and then sat beside him where he lay.  We remained out there for nearly a half-hour.  Me, petting him.  He, purring softly, stretching a little.
I found Carmel in the pre-dawn this morning.  He was hidden away in his final narrow place, utterly still.  I touched his head and thanked him for being a good boy.  I sat on the floor and wept into my hands.
Rest in peace, Carmel.

--Mitchell Hegman

Sunday, May 28, 2017

More from the Front

I am posting four more photographs from our trip to the Front Range.  I captured the first photograph a mile or so before we entered Sun Canyon.  We stopped at Sun Canyon Lodge—a rustic lodge teeming with mounted game animals and located at the base of a massive cliff— and grabbed a bloody Mary before climbing up into the mountains.
The second photograph features Terry, my brother-in-law, near a patch of arrowleaf balsamroot.  This photograph offers some idea of scale.
When I stopped to snap a photograph of a lone boulder with the Rocky Mountain Front in the background, that girl suggested a photograph with her and my sister on the rock.  This is one of my favorite pictures from the day.  That area, near Willow Creek Reservoir, is strewn with boulders left behind by retreating glaciers.
The last photograph shows the clear water of Willow Creek Reservoir.  This photograph also provides a sense of the expanse of open land and open sky beyond the Front.











--Mitchell Hegman

Saturday, May 27, 2017

The Rocky Mountain Front

Three companions and I spent the better part of yesterday driving gravel roads along the Sawtooth Mountains of the Rocky Mountain Front north of Helena.  This is the very place where the Great Plains meet the Rocky Mountains.  Geologists call it an overthrust belt.
The mountains of the Front are mostly comprised of sedimentary shales that have been heaved up into massive walls and improbable jumbles of solid stone.  Over the centuries, forests, grassy slopes, and cold rivers have poured down from the mountains to greet the open plains.  This time of year, wildflowers such as arrowleaf balsamroot and penstemon flourish within the more delicate toes of the Front.
Yesterday, we drove along the outside of the front all the way to Sun Canyon.  We followed Sun River up into the mountains and then drove below the peaks for a while.   Posted are a few photographs from the day.












--Mitchell Hegman

Friday, May 26, 2017

Penguin Suicide

Researchers in Antarctica have observed—amid all the wonders and stark beauty found in and around penguin colonies—a darker side.  Among the penguins waddling and slipping about are a few individuals who seem to suffer from severe depression.  Their depression is often so deep, they wander off to what is certain death.  For researchers and documentarians observing, this is especially heartbreaking because they have agreed not to interfere with the natural course of events, no matter how ugly.
Rather than attempting to detail the plight of the depressed penguins in my own words, I am posting a video. 
--Mitchell Hegman

In the event the video I posted fails to launch, here is the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zWH_9VRWn8Y 

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Body-Slammed

Today, here in Montana, we are holding a special election for our sole seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.  The seat was left vacant when Ryan Zinke ascended to his position as Secretary of the Interior.   Yesterday, our Republican candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives, Greg Gianforte, body-slammed a reporter who pressed him with a question about health care and the recently released CBO score for a proposed plan.
The story quickly splashed up onto the national news.
Mr. Gianforte was later cited for assault.
In some corners, people are celebrating Gianforte for “giving it to the liberal press.”
I am repulsed by Greg Gianforte’s behavior.
Gianforte, in thirty violent seconds, fully displayed the reactionary, small-minded thinking that has for too many years produced political division and led us away from solutions to our very real problems.

--Mitchell Hegman

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Sunset, May 23, 2017

Last night, we experienced another set-the-sky-on-fire sunset.  That girl and I stepped out onto the back deck to snap photographs as orange washed through yellow within the clouds and the entire dome above grew a deep, abiding blue.  We remained outdoors until the last light flushed from the nearby pines and the songbirds fell into silence.
Posted are two images of Hauser Lake and the burning sky above.











--Mitchell Hegman

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The Accidental Litter-Bug

If you know me, you know I am not a litter-bug.  Far from it.  On my first date with that girl a couple years ago, we hiked into Crow Creek Falls.  I ended up filling my backpack with litter I picked up along the way in and on the way out.  On our Sunday drive a couple weeks ago, I stopped on the backroads and pitched a few littered cans and bottles into the back of my truck.  On Friday of last week, that girl, I, and our cabin neighbors picked litter from a mile stretch of Highway 200 near Lincoln, Montana.
Yesterday, the tables turned on me.
I became a litter-bug.
I have an explanation.  It was not technically me.
While driving home along the Frontage Road, I rolled down the windows on both sides of my truck to allow the sweet new-grass-and-spring-tree scent to swirl around me.  What swirled around me—instead—was a loose plastic grocery bag the wind picked up from someplace on the floor.
The bag circled right around me, snapping, and was then violently sucked outside.  I saw the bag in my review mirror as it whipped across the road, sailed over the barrow, sailed over an irrigation canal, and sailed over a fence into a field of new green.
No retrieving that.
A pox on my record.
--Mitchell Hegman

Monday, May 22, 2017

Effort

Taking a stab at something is not enough.  You need to slice right through everything you attempt.

--Mitchell Hegman

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Making a Banjo

Very early this morning (before sunrise) I watched How It’s Made on television.  I learned how automobile shock absorbers and banjos are made.
Both are fascinatingly complex in design and manufacture.
This newfound knowledge is not particularly helpful in my life, but I feel surprisingly satisfied.

--Mitchell Hegman

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Peckerheads and Dog Legs

Every type of business and every craft has developed a unique slang specific to the work they do, the processes they employ, and the tools they use.  Often, terms used “in the field” mean nothing near what you might suspect upon first hearing them.  Following are a few terms used by electricians on a regular basis.    
Asshole in the Wire: An unwanted loop or tangle in wire you are trying to pull into a conduit.
Birddog: A supervisor who is always lurking around to see what you are doing.
Bone Pile: Scraps of conduit, including cut ends and mis-bends.
Butt Splice: An in-line compression splice for conductors (where two ends butt together).
Dog Leg: A misaligned offset bend in conduit.
Let the Smoke Out: When you mis-wire equipment and burn it up upon applying power.
No-Dog: A type of level used specifically for producing aligned offset bends in conduit.
Peckerhead: The termination box attached to an electrical motor for connecting circuit conductors to the factory motor windings. (This term often lands electricians in trouble, but the origins are likely not close to what you might guess.  The origins of this term have to do with an early style of termination head that, when removed, exposed connection contacts that looked like a chicken’s beak.)
Rabbit: Scrap wire.
Rabbit Gun: Wire snippers for large conductors.
Smoke Test: Energize equipment for the first time.
Soap: Wire pulling lubricant.

--Mitchell Hegman

Friday, May 19, 2017

Two Monsters

I fed my monster toenail clippings and dust bunnies because it was not real.  You fed your monster feelings of abandonment and resentment.
I saw you with your monster the other day.

--Mitchell Hegman

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Why Do You Know That?

Let’s begin with rain.
Yesterday, we received quite a bit of rain.  My friend (and something of a business partner) called at mid-morning.  We talked for a while about solar PV training we are developing for students in the university system here in Montana.  After discussing the points we needed to cover, my friend asked: “Are you floating away out there in all the rain?”
“Not yet,” I answered, “but it has been raining pretty hard out here.  We’ve gotten at least a half-inch.  It takes a quarter-inch of rain to build puddles on my road and a half-inch to connect them together.  Right now the puddles are connecting.”
I heard laughter over the phone.  “Why do you know that?  I’m not exactly surprised that you know, but why would you?”  More laughter.  “No, you don’t need to explain.”
Allow me to explain.
Maybe knowing how much rain it takes to connect puddles in the ruts of my dirt road is a little weird.  I would plead, however, I came by this knowledge in the most innocent of ways.
For the first twenty or so years of living out here in the county, I kept a rain gauge affixed to a corner post of the fence I constructed to keep out my neighbor’s cattle.  I enjoyed scampering out after heavy rainstorms to see how much the gauge captured.  I soon noticed that an eighth-inch of rain soaked into the ground.  A quarter-inch of rain created puddles in the road.  A half inch of rain connected the puddles together.  Three-quarters of an inch made puddles that lasted for more than a day.
My rain gauge is no more, but the come and go puddles remain a tell certain.

--Mitchell Hegman

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Focus

When working on his inventions, Nikola Tesla was wholly oblivious of people around him.  So singular was his focus, he sometimes neglected sleeping and worked until he literally collapsed from exhaustion.  Nothing distracted him.
I would like to make the claim that my focus on projects is the same, but of course that would be false.  When, for example, working on a project at my cabin (where literally dozens of other unfinished tasks can be found by simply turning my head), I tend to bound from project to project in the course of a single day.  All the while, my mind is picking up this, dropping that.  I do have short periods of intense concentration.  Generally, those are when I am looking for a tool or a specific type of screw in my voluminous stacks of building supplies.
Over the weekend, I spent part of a day working on a couple of ongoing projects at my cabin.   For one of the tasks, I had to use my miter saw to cut a length of 2 x 4.  Not wanting to spew sawdust all over the place inside the cabin, I hauled the saw just outside the lower level door, near my truck, to make the cut.
Off I went after that to do another one-hundred chores.
A couple hours later, I needed to retrieve a pair of pliers from my truck.  I plodded down the stairs to the lower level, dragged across the floor, and opened the lower entry door.
Brighter outside light fell over me.  There in the light, stood a dark and sinister shape.
Wolverine!  Right at my door! 
I gasped, froze.
A sudden calm came over me as my focus on the dark shape cleared.  It was the miter saw I dragged outside the door two hours earlier.
--Mitchell Hegman

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Do Not Go Gentle

Feline or human, in the end we all seek nothing more than a dark quiet place.
For Carmel, my sweetest 20 pounds of housecat, the narrow space between the clothes dryer and the wall is that quiet place.  For the last two days, he has emerged only once in the morning and once in the evening at our normal feeding times.  He does not really eat.  Mostly, he nudges his food around the bowl.  He is not very interested in water.
Last night, I rubbed the top of his head and gently brushed him for a few seconds before he slowly ambled away to hide.
Make no mistake, this is heartbreaking minute by minute.
For my whole life I have strove to push hate from my vocabulary, but this I hate from side to side, from beginning to end
This morning, I found Carmel alongside Splash, seemingly ready for something to eat.  He merely licked at his food a couple times once I presented it to him.  Before he ambled off to hide, I scooped him up and rubbed at his skull.  I felt his ribs against my skin.  I felt each small, precious breath.    I told him he was a damned good boy.  I told him I loved him.  I gingerly placed him on the floor and watched him amble off to the narrow opening between the dryer and the wall and then wiped away a stray teardrop that found my cheek instead of the floor.
Dylan Thomas came to me: Do not go gentle into that good night…rage, rage against the dying of the light…
--Mitchell Hegman

Monday, May 15, 2017

Magpie Gulch

Magpie Gulch is a drainage cutting down through the Big Belt Mountains to reach the shores of Canyon Ferry Reservoir.  The forest within the drainage has seen wildfire in my lifetime.  The Cave Gulch fire of 2000 scoured though most of the drainage, leaving few evergreen trees standing.  In total, that fire ravaged through some 34,500 acres of wildlands.
Yesterday, that girl and I drove up through Magpie Gulch.  Though evergreen trees will be slow in returning to much of the steep, mountainous landscape, grasses, forbs, and bushes are flourishing.  The bottoms are filling in with aspen trees.
I have posted four photographs from our drive through the drainage.












--Mitchell Hegman

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Hot Tub

The thought occurred to me this morning that I write about sitting in my hot tub quite often.  I might hazard to say that—aside from those of us out there writing full-fledged hot tub blogs—I probably write about my hot tub more than anybody in the blogosphere.
Today, I am posting a picture of my hot tub.
If I was writing an actual blog about hot tubs, I would take a selfie of me in the hot tub.  Maybe I would write something about the pH balance.  Maybe I could compare the use of bromine to the use of chlorine.  I might discuss the latest generation of saltwater spas.
But my blog is generally about nonsense and I am naked somewhere under my clothing.  It is now time for me to find my naked and climb into the picture I just posted.
End of blog.












--Mitchell Hegman

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Vigilante Parade

Yesterday, that girl and I drove into Helena to watch the 93rd annual Vigilante Parade.  According to the Independent Record, our local paper, the parade is among the oldest high school parades in the nation.  In 1924, Helena High principal A. J. Roberts originated the parade as a way to replace a traditional spring event called “Senior-Junior Fight.”  The battles between seniors and juniors for placing their flags began in the 1890s and had, by the 1920s, escalated into all manner of actual fights and anarchy.
My parents participated in the Vigilante Parade in the 1940s.  One year they rode an authentic stagecoach through Last Chance Gulch.
I was on the Sweepstakes winning “Oxbow Mine” float in 1973 and part of the parade in 1974 when Capital High became part of the parade for the first time.
My daughter was in the parade in the 1990s.
The parade celebrates the history of Helena and Montana as a whole.
We watched yesterday’s parade from a spot on the walking mall section of Last Chance Gulch, just across from the Livestock Building.  As always, some of the floats were very detailed and well-constructed.  Others were just for fun.  Honestly, I felt a sense of pride as I watched the parade.
Today, I am posting a few parade photographs taken with my smarter-than-me-phone.



--Mitchell Hegman

Friday, May 12, 2017

Something I Might Like

Other than the constant exercise and weight lifting, I think bodybuilding is something I might like and excel at.

--Mitchell Hegman

Thursday, May 11, 2017

That Smile (Uyen Hegman)

One of my personal flaws—and there are many—is my inability to recall important dates.  I remember the birthdays of only a few people, but only if they are conspicuous by date.  I recall, for example, people with birthdays immediately near mine.  I recall birthdays that happen to fall on or near Christmas.
Anniversaries evade me.
March 11, however, is a date I’m incapable of shaking.  I drag March 11 along behind me or push it ahead of me throughout the rest of the year.
Six years ago, on this date, Uyen Hegman breathed in the last of the sweet air perfumed by our Mayday tree and fell into the silence from which no one escapes.  I and our daughter were holding her hand as she breathed her last.
Let me tell you about Uyen.
Uyen had a smile like ten-thousand snow geese taking flight at once.  She loved family, and all children, and cats and dogs, and sewing, and planting seeds “whenever she wanted,” and picking huckleberries.  Though she came from war, she brought only peace.
In the first weeks after losing someone, you want to clang bells, you want to scream, slam doors.  Then you go through a period of quiet.  On the other side of the quiet you come to place of centering.  Once again you balance your life between high and low inputs, fond memories and bitter pills.
Today, I am thankful for the time I shared with Uyen and I am thankful for the life I presently have.  They are joined.
Posted is a photograph of Uyen in a low huckleberry patch.
That’s the smile I’m talking about.

--Mitchell Hegman

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Humming

My Mayday tree is now Mecca for honeybees, wasps, and an odd assortment winged whatnots for which I have no name certain.  Having come to full bloom in the last two days, the Mayday tree now perfumes the daylight hours.
Yesterday, I stood below the tree with only a few medallions of sunlight reaching my shirt through the mad array of blossoms.  The sawing hum of hundreds of winged insects, and the dizzying sight the same insects pirouetting from flower cluster to flower cluster, dizzied me.  For a time I watched a single wasp clumsily bullying through the clusters.  Later, I watched a small bee of some sort swirling from place to place.  Flies and butterflies clung to blossoms like drunks to streetlights.
On the ground, I found a single honeybee.  The bee seemed wounded or weak.  I bent down and cautiously nudged the bee.
The bee fell over and spun circles on its back.
I nudged the bee a second time and it took to a zig-zagging flight toward the Elkhorn Mountains many miles away.
The flight, for reasons I cannot in any manner justify, seemed ill-fated.  But above me, the entire tree hummed on.
Posted is a photograph I captured from underneath my Mayday tree.

--Mitchell Hegman

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Fading

Just this: I am in the presence of 20 pounds of fading housecat.
My boy Carmel has, over the last few weeks, greatly reduced his intake of food.  He has entirely stopped climbing up into his favorite cat perch at the bay window.  He does not seek to go outside. 
Yesterday, I tried on a dozen occasions to entice Carmel to eat.  He ate only a few sparse bites and spent the day on the floor near my feet with eyes shut.
This morning he sniffed at my offerings of food and slowly walked away.
I have seen this kind of behavior before.  The slow walk out the last open door.
The seeking of low, dark places.
Silence.

--Mitchell Hegman

Monday, May 8, 2017

A Single Tree

My directions were on paper and nearly impossible to follow: Turn left when you find the first narrow road through the timber.  Once you drop down a steep hill and find a large boulder on the left, turn off onto the next right.  The road will soon turn into two narrow tracks.
Shadows deepened as I descended into a narrow mountain valley.  Pine and fir trees grew close together, with bough touching bough.  Branches wiped against the truck’s windshield as I slipped through the most ancient whorls.  Lesser birds hopped along the understory, flicking through occasional columns of full light, never taking to flight.
Look for a fir tree much bigger than all others.  You’ll find a grassy opening in the trees there.  It’s not a road, but turn in.  Follow spaces between trees.
I flashed through a lighted opening in the trees where a swarm of insects swirled upwards into the air.  I wheeled the truck though wide spaces as I found them.  Finally, I came to a large open swale where stood a single mountain ash tree—elegant and full and brighter than all other trees.  Yellow glacier lilies had gathered into a cluster in the shade of the tree.
I stepped from my truck to behold this, understanding for the first time…it is possible for a single tree to be the destination in an endless forest.

--Mitchell Hegman

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Into the Storm

Yesterday evening, that girl and I drove home by way of Martinsdale and Lennep (Montana State 294).  That drive takes you through quintessential Montana mountain ranchlands.  Lennep, now a tiny ghost town featuring a conspicuous white Lutheran church, was once a station on the now abandoned Old Milwaukee Road.
By the time we reached Lennep, zinc-colored storm clouds had wholly engulfed the Big Belt Mountains and were dragging curtains of rain across the Castle Mountains.  The old Lutheran church reminded me of a pop-up from a book—standing upright so boldly and unexpectedly against the expanse of grasslands and undeveloped range.  A few more turns of narrow highway delivered us to the abandoned Old Milwaukee Road power plant.
Old Milwaukee train engines converted from steam engines to electric power at Harlowton.  These electric trains then continued on serpentine railroad tracks into the Rocky Mountains of Central Montana.  Montana State 294 shadows the long abandoned line.
One of the Old Milwaukee electric engines is still on display in Harlowton.  
That girl and I stopped at the power plant so I could capture a couple of photographs.  Posted today is a photo of the abandoned power plant and a stormfront sweeping over the open rangelands.












--Mitchell Hegman

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Roundup, Montana

You don’t go to Roundup, Montana, without a pretty good reason in mind.  I am not suggesting Roundup is a bad place.  Far from it.  Roundup is a nice place.  The surrounding landscape is scenic.  But Roundup is remote—even by the standards of Montanans—which is saying something.
The highway through town isn’t going anyplace in particular.  Roundup isn’t one of those little stops in-between two big towns.  The town hangs like a lone bead on a secondary highway in the middle of quiet.  Roundup just is.  The town got its name because early ranchers found the narrow valley near the Musselshell River a convenient place to roundup there cattle.
Roundup is the county seat for Musselshell County.
The nearby countryside is busy with ancient rim rock formations and broken land.  Scattered pine, cattle, and game animals are found throughout.  Thick green grass thrives in the winding  river and creek bottoms and climbs up into the nearby timber.  The Musselshell River swashbuckles right in next to Roundup and then drifts off again.  The town feels like the Old West for no reason that comes to mind immediately.
Both Roundup and Musselshell County at large have seen constant cycles of boom and bust.  Irrigation projects helped convey water to the dry lands.  The Homestead Act of 1920 beckoned people to the remote lands.  The dustbowl era drought that soon followed saw them leave again.  Coal mines have opened and closed.  The Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railroad came, bringing people and jobs, but left in the 1970s.
Today, the population of Musselshell County is something near 5,000.  That is down substantially from a population of about 9,000 shortly after Montana Governor Edwin Norris officially created the county in 1911.     
By the way, I do have a reason for being in Roundup on this soon-to-be sunny day.  I have a solar PV instructing gig here.  A local area electrical shop is installing an 8,000 watt ground-mount system today and I am involved with that. 

--Mitchell Hegman

Friday, May 5, 2017

210 Pounds of Worshiping the Sun

Just so you know, there is something of a debate regarding the spelling of “worshiped.”  The English, ever persnickety in matters of their language, prefer “worshipped” spelled with a double “p.”  I suspect they have a reason.  Maybe it has something to do with “tea time.”  The English are touchy about tea time in particular.
I am still a bit miffed that they turned color into colour and girls into birds.
Enough of that.
Let’s talk about yesterday.
What a gorgeous day.
Wait a minute!  New development.  My smarter-than-me-phone just informed me that I can expect “light traffic” in my area.  Pretty accurate, actually.  I live way out in the sticks.  A single car—Kevin—drove past my house a minute ago.  Same as yesterday and the day before.
One car every day.  That’s pretty much it.
Thank you, smarter-than-me-phone.
Anyhow, yesterday, I and my 40 pounds of housecat sprawled out on my back deck to catch some sun.  First time of the year for that.  We were something of a heap if you wish to be precise.  My cats insisted on inhabiting my space.  I mean their space.
Cats tend to regard everything as theirs
As a final note, I had to cover my head from direct sunlight.  Two weeks ago, a pretty dermatologist with a sharp scalpel removed a couple chunks of skin from me.
Sun damage from the old days.
The sun gives life, the sun kills.

--Mitchell Hegman

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Nothing Happens in a Vacuum

They say nothing happens in a vacuum.  Except space.  A lot happens in space.  And, actually, I am a little suspicious about what goes on inside my vacuum cleaner.

--Mitchell Hegman

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Conviction

Roger Daltrey, the lead singer for The Who, suggests that fronting a rock band requires complete conviction when you find and hit your notes.  You can’t step halfway there.  I mention this because you may one day see me driving by alone in my truck with my mouth wide open and one arm in the air.
I’m a rock star, baby.
--Mitchell Hegman

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Rocks or Animals

Some people are guided by rocks.  Okay, more like crystals.  My oldest sister—at least for a time—was one of those people.  I don’t wish to imply she was a crazy person having deep conversations with rocks.  She was just regular crazy like the rest of my family.  But she saw need to have specific crystals located in specific places in her house.
I like rocks, so I was cool with that.
Other people have animal guides.  Native Americans, for example, celebrated this concept.  I have a friend from the Blackfeet Nation who is guided by the grizzly bear.  For a time, she lived without fear at the edge of Badger-Two Medicine.  Bear country, for sure.
The splendid landscapes of Badger-Two Medicine were featured in the Robin Williams movie What Dreams May Come.
I am without a guide.  On one side: rocks.  On the other side: animals.  Basically, it’s just me and a bunch of bugs in the middle.

--Mitchell Hegman

Monday, May 1, 2017

Guitar Lessons for Nikola Tesla

After inventing the future, Nikola Tesla determined that he needed to abandon celibacy and find a companion.  To that end, Tesla sought advice from Jimi Hendrix.
“Women did not notice me until I took up the guitar,” Hendrix noted.
“Are you suggesting I should learn to play the guitar?” asked Tesla.
“Absolutely.  I can teach you a few cords and some flowing riffs.”
“It has to be an electric guitar,” insisted Tesla.
“You came to the right place, baby.”
A few days after this conversation, Nikola stopped by to visit with Jimi Hendrix again.  Tesla held in his hand a new electric guitar.
“Are you ready for your lessons?” Jimi asked.
“Yes.  But watch this.”  Without plugging the guitar into an amp, Tesla struck a loud cord and belted out in a high, raspy voice: “We’re on the highway to hell…”
“Is that what I think it is?”
“Yes,” answered Tesla.  “Bon Scott is in the same apartment building as me.  How can I go wrong with AC-DC?”

--Mitchell Hegman