From the moment I awake, I lie silently and listen to the calling of the universe to determine the type of day ahead, because every day has its own personality. Some mornings are overwhelming, blasting with the sound of horns and a declaration of chaos. A day that can zap the life out of the soul, and the only bright spot is thinking of the good tomorrow may bring. Other mornings, the universe whispers and the day arrives quiet and serene. I am able to spend the day deep in thought, piecing together ideas and by night my life resembles some type of order. Then there are mornings like today, when the universe offers a connection that seems very personal. A feeling of confidence floating between secrets and knowledge: an invitation for adventure and a day to push the envelope. I roll out of bed as the sun breaks, brew a fresh pot of coffee and wander down to the water. Breathing in the morning air and looking up at the mountains, it is impossible not to wonder about Ellinor. There is nowhere else in the world my troubles melt away than here on Hood Canal and the Skokomish wilderness. It is here my consciousness pervades a deeper level of reality, a connectedness to nature. Many people have such a place ~ a place of solitude that brings out an instinctive feeling of inspiration. Perhaps it is love. A need for a deep association with the world etched into who we are as individuals. I cannot help but smile as I think back to a quote “The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.” – Carl Sagan (Cosmos) My smile turns into laughter, as Sagan’s words reaffirm the relationship I have with Ellinor. She belongs to me as I belong to her. At the quantum level we are one. Nature holds something true and intrinsic within our souls; a beauty that burns deep within our cells. Writers and poets have long written sonnets about their affairs with nature, and recently leading physicists have joined in with new theories and experiments to show we have relationships far beyond what our minds can fathom. At the quantum level we are made up of subatomic particles, and what a story these particles have to tell. Physicists are uncovering the magic of these subatomic particles and their incredible gift: their connectedness and ability to communicate with other particles instantaneously and over unimaginable distances (spanning our universe). This phenomenon, called quantum entanglement, is not new – but recent experiments and theories have cracked open this door even wider, which is as exciting as it is mysterious. Quantum entanglement quite possibly wraps all of us together where everything in the universe is connected to everything else. Scientists contemplating a spiritual side of nature, and theorists spinning their minds trying to comprehend what this all could mean.
“Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality.” ― Carl Sagan
For me, I imagine within my heart is an electron connected to every Roosevelt Elk walking through the wilderness, every salmon swimming in the Skokomish River and every foothold leading up to the summit of Mt. Ellinor. So on this beautiful day, how can I possibly be thinking of quantum entanglement, especially while standing here on the shores of Hood Canal looking at Ellinor only thirty-miles away? I am here because I believe Ellinor has reached out to me to visit her once again. Once a year, I take a pilgrimage to her peaks to rejuvenate my soul and recharge my spirit. It sets my mind right; the rush of the climb, the beauty along every step is the easy answer why. I am aware of the Unrequited Love of Ellinor, which makes my return perhaps even more special. No expectations, no great planning, just a great hike that in the end leaves me speechless. I’ve been hiking Ellinor as far back as I can remember, summiting her and exploring the peaks of her neighbors. Each time, on my descent I felt both spiritually complete and physically spent. I must admit that even prior to my hike today the jealousy of never seeing a mountain goat, somewhat common around this part of the Skokomish wilderness, flickers in me every now and then, but my faith holds true. Ellinor will grant me this moment when the time is right. Standing here, three days into the Chinese New Year, the Year of the Goat, I have the idea that Ellinor has brought me to her to make this year special. The weather is perfect. The summit is easily accessible this early in the year due to light winter snowfall, and I am ready to strengthen my relationship with her and all that is around me. Waking this morning to Ellinor’s subsonic whispers of the day’s possibilities was perfect. I drink the last of my coffee and walk along the waters of Hood Canal, content in the solace she has offered. Being out in nature makes it easier for me to imagine we are all just bags of stardust, particles billions of years old cognizant of everything in the universe. The idea of these particles able to communicate over billions of miles instantaneously, though, is tough to grasp but fun to dream about.
Looking up, I see a familiar set of eyes for the first time. These incredible mountain goats seem surprised to have me hanging around the summit, but they share Ellinor with me. Feeling a rush of adrenaline amid the setting sun, I ponder at what the universe and Ellinor is teaching me. I suppose it is just the simple thought to enjoy life and keep listening to nature. Hear the words of the universe and begin to think of “we” instead of “I”. Everything is “we”. We are interconnected in a way that is obvious, made up of the same material: stardust. The difficulty of this connectedness lies in the depths of the links and attachments we have to the universe and to each other. It is a bit overwhelming. Jumping around the boulders, following these impressive mountain goats I am thrilled this day has finally come. A day I expected, and perhaps that is why it is here. Why I am here. The majestic confidence these goats have, somehow clinging onto the face of a cliff with their hooves when all looks lost is impressive. I feel a bit foolish thinking that finding these mountain goats on today’s climb within the first week of the Year of the Goat has some significance, but then who is to say it doesn’t. The universe works in mysterious ways, and as with the secrets of Ellinor, the secrets of quantum physics are many as well. It is exciting to hear of physicists discussing the results of the same particle, appearing in different places at the same time and opening the possibilities of the manipulation of space-time. The mysteries of quantum entanglement, these connections possibly holding information we can only dream to uncover. The déjà vu we feel, possibly a flash of past experience or emotion from the subatomic level. Perhaps most important to me as I put on my headlamp, pack up my gear and prepare to descend the mountain, is the idea that we never truly die. Pieces of me will carry over. The connectedness throughout the universe gives me confidence, and perhaps some state of consciousness imbedded in my subatomic particles will keep my spirit alive.
“We are like butterflies who flutter for a day and think it is forever.” ― Carl Sagan
Consciousness, I imagine, is a vital part of the universe. Perhaps not in the way we understand human consciousness today, but in a different form. I suppose when my time comes, I will find out. The world of physics is a world of magic with so much to learn. Accompanying physics is the magic of philosophy. One of the tenets of both Buddhist and Hindu philosophy is the idea that everything is energy, dancing in form ~ a dance with the continuous weaving of the form and the formless. Such a poetic description can double as a definition of quantum entanglement as well. A description physicists today are telling us very well may be reality. Until then, it is good to be with Ellinor. It is good to accept that we may all be a part of a scary-large family. Work hard, play hard and be good. And listen to what the universe has to say.
“We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.” – Joseph Campbell
Wow. It’s kismet (or perhaps quantum entaglement:)) that I stumbled upon this entry tonight. I’ve been fascinated recently with the intersections of the spiritual and the scientific.I read The Accidental Universe, watched a few Hawking PBS specials with my son. There is so much we don’t know. And so much wonderful yet to be discovered. Thanks for the inspiring prose . . .
I’m of big fan of the Chinese term “缘分” which has Buddhist roots measuring our opportunities with fate and destiny… Nothing is set in stone, but we do have the opportunity to make destiny with our actions if we choose. So perhaps you are right, connecting here is our ‘yuan-fen’ ~ so much to be discovered. Cheers and thank you ~
i bet the goat meat taste is amazing on spicy curry, lol
Ha, ha ~ I had a few hunting friends make similar comments. A spice goat curry…that does sound good 🙂
This is an amazing post! Your photographs are beautiful! 🙂
It was a great time shooting these animals, and in my favorite place. Thanks Rob ~ cheers.
I like every aspect of this. If I listen to the universe and find the pace, the tempo and the occupation for the day, I do well. Like Carl Sagan your love of physics embraces beauty and the spirit of the world. Superb pictures and words to match. Inspiring.
It is so true, once we understand how the day should be dealt with, things go so smoothly. Sagan was really something the way he could see physics and the relationship we have with the world/nature/universe…still enjoy watching his old programs as they still inspire. Thanks Simon ~
Reblogged this on السلام الان hayimcuriel and commented:
السلام حوجة دائمة كافة الشعوب والامم ويحتاج الى تضافر الجهود من كافة الاطرف لوقف الحروب وتلوث البيئة
Thank you very much Hayim ~
Sorry, got called away and couldn’t comment before. “We” are all just a small piece of the puzzle.
Yes indeed, very small pieces of the puzzle ~ and it is pretty cool.
Wonderful photos, Dalo. Always an inspiration. Congratulations!
It was one of those perfect shoots when everything comes together well ~ thank you and wish you a great coming weekend.
Majestic and brilliant images Randall! Marvelous!
These goats were majestic along side the great scenes of the Olympic Mountains…such a sight to see 🙂
These are so amazing pictures…nature has so much to give us!
Nature does have beauty and amazement in abundance, thanks Alok ~
Beautiful Ellinor! You’re right, I believe we all have or know that magical place which brings out the inner consciousness and makes us feel at one with our surroundings. I definitely know a place which does that for me. But, looking at the beauty from those mountaintops and that sunrise takes me to yet somewhere else in my memories which brings out a similar connection. Oh to be that goat! I envy him/her… can you believe it? Love the way you bring Carl Sagan into all this… brilliant man! Love his work. Brilliant work, Randall. Thanks for sharing. 🙂
Those magical places that we find and can escape to are the best; allows us to relax and think about life in a different way. It was great to be able to bring Sagan into a post, and this topic along with Ellinor was perfect. Thank Kev for the comment. Cheers.
I couldn’t agree more Randall, and it’s always a pleasure. I always feel tranquil while reading or viewing your posts.
Merci pour ce beau partage…Bonne journée
The beauty of nature never seems to run out of surprises ~ Merci, Bonne journée
Indeed, Randall. One too many times we think only of ‘I’. And on occasions when we do think of ‘we’, it usually means only about a group of people, rarely all (if ever)—let alone including ‘the other members’ (goats, mountains etc). I guess it’s all the more precious right now to feel complete and accepted.
About the entanglement, looks like it works not only place-wise (and matter-wise), but also time-wise. I mean, .it never fails to amaze me that when we look up the sky at night—thanks to the ever lagging speed of light, it is actually a live streaming: we are seeing the past, with our naked eyes.
Quite some post, pictures or otherwise—as usual. Have a good ‘Ellinor Year’. 🙂
Beautifully said, and there is nothing more exciting that seeing starlight and understand just where it came from ~ and what we are made from. Wish you a great “Ellinor Year” as well (I am going to have to use this now!). Cheers and thank you again.
I’m so glad you saw the mountain goats. Beauty and philosophy are natural companions.
It was exciting when the rangers said they were out, but I was not at all expecting to see such an amazing group at the summit. Pretty cool 🙂 Cheers to a good week!
I am so happy, I found your blog, it is right up my street in topic, and the photos are breathtaking! Thank you. Gia
One of my favorite topics, always leading to more questions and thoughts. Thanks Gia, wish you a great day.
Absolutely, it is fascinating! Thank you, and I wish you a great day too. Gia
I find connecting with nature brings much harmony and positive thoughts on a personal level that is often hard to explain in words … you have described your experience Randall in a way that just totally swept me along up that mountain in search of everything I’ll never understand but happily ponder … in a quantum way 😉
Such magnificent photographs … truly wondrous captures of those goats !
Agree completely, nature stirs something inside that we feel deeply (and need), and it is a great feeling to allow ourselves to be swept away. The day on Ellinor was something as close to perfect as I could have imagined. Thank you Poppy ~
OMG, this is perfect timing, light and harmony. What a wonderful post! Congratulation, Randall.
Thank you Dina ~ it was one of those days when everything in the Universe seemed to line up perfectly. Incredible day, hiking up to view the sunset and then those incredible goats. Made going back to HK/China much easier. Cheers to a great summer ~
The best sights are mostly at the end of our comfort zones! 🙂
Wishing you the best of summers too, it’s finally here in Europe now. Phew, boiling hot …
You are a master of subtlety…I loved this piece about Ellinor, the beloved mountain…I am having a love affair with the mountains of Kauai, where I live! I’ve recently written a very short piece with 1 beautiful pic that you may enjoy reading. I will be back to enjoy your offerings!!!
Shivalaya aka donnadalessio
Thank you Donna, there is something special about having a place to retreat to every now and then to see the world through a different lens. Ellinor serves that role very well.
Spiritually intuitive, its amazing what science and spiritualism could accomplish together. This post gives you a deeper look into another culture. Love it 💋
The more we understand about spiritualism, the better we are at understanding the physics of the world ~ thank you and cheers to a great summer!
Yes I love this piece on the Mountain Ellinor!!! Many Blessings on you and your fabulous artistry in image and word!!!
I sat here hypnotised by these photos, and glanced at parts of the text. Sorry, these images are heavenly, too appealing for me to focus on the text.
🙂 My photography-side is in heaven with such a comment, thank you! A perfect coming together of light/nature and of course Ellinor made it a day to remember.
Wonderful harmony and peace in these photos Randall, all incredibly beautiful!
It was one of my best days ever hiking, climbing and then being able to photograph something I had long dreamt about 🙂 Thank you very much Elina ~
It is so true – thinking ‘we’ instead of ‘I’ opens new worlds. Thank you for this blog and the Mountain goat photo essay!
One of the best days & hikes I’ve had in the wilderness 🙂
One of the best stories and the best illustrations I have read! 🙂
What a wonderful post! I love all of the photographs, but the one with the goat standing on a pinnacle and looking across at the sun really is quite breathtaking.
I also loved the Carl Sagan quote since he’s one of my all-time favorite non-fiction authors and a massive influence from my childhood. You may well already know this, but well-known scientist Lawrence Krauss often expands upon the idea in his talks, as when he said: “Every atom in your body came from a star that exploded. And, the atoms in your left hand probably came from a different star than your right hand.”
Thank you Bun, this hike was the best I have had this year…everything fell into place just perfectly – and the quote from Krauss would have fit so well in the post. It is truly amazing to consider the vastness of the universe (and of what we are made of), and on top of Mt. Ellinor is a good place to contemplate it all 🙂 Cheers to a great autumn ~
It may well be why wise old men are said to live in caves on the top of mountains! I hope you have a great autumn too.
Reblogged this on Life and Random Thinking and commented:
Special photos of nature intermingled with science.
Thank you very much.
Listen to the Exhortation of the Dawn! Look to this Day! For it is Life, the very Life of Life. In its brief course lie all the Verities and Realities of your Existence. The Bliss of Growth, The Glory of Action, The Splendor of Beauty; For Yesterday is but a Dream, And To-morrow is only a Vision; But To-day well lived makes Every Yesterday a Dream of Happiness, And every Tomorrow a Vision of Hope. Look well therefore to this Day! Such is the Salutation of the Dawn!
Every morning a sight to see, and you say it well “And every tomorrow a vision of hope…” Wishing you a great finish to this eventful year of 2020!
Yes indeed, thank you, best wishes to you as well. 🙂
I read that physicians can get closer towards Buddhism because some common truths with their findings about the deep nature of universe. I guess as all the knowledge has the same source some day it will find itself with wisdom, we will go back to what we already knew but not as children anymore (Christians have a passage in Bible that sounds similar “Videmus nunc per speculum in aenigmate, tunc autem facie ad faciem; nunc cognosco ex parte, tunc autem cognoscam sicut et cognitus sum” we see in darkness, but we will see as we see our face; now I only know in part, but then I will know as I know myself” if I recall well) you have your apu ; ) here apus are sacred mountains and hills we care as if they were our grandparents, each for each old population, usually with two peaks representing the duality of the human being in male and female and others. I think I understand what you feel.