Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Creator Relationship

I cannot claim to be very religious, but I can testify to the fact that I am spiritual. I believe that this universe and all the fascinating physics at play are so wondrous that there is more of an origin to it all than pure serendipity. In astrophysics, we can trace our universe's expanding nature to a big bang theory. Yet the big bang theory hinges on many important basic relationships like mass exhibiting gravity, electron and proton attraction, basic thermodynamic principles, etc. etc. If we lived in a universe without these principles, planet Earth would never exist; atoms would simply fly around and never join enough to even form a single drop of water.

Middle Palisade and Normal Clyde Peak
So, whatever your perspective may be: religious, spiritual, atheist, whatever, there still are some amazing basic truths to our universe that allowed our planet to form and allow us to be living, breathing, organic life forms that do some amazing things with our surroundings. What's more, we share these basic physic relationships with the natural world. Our bodies have perfectly adapted to our surroundings like plants, animals, mountains, oceans, valleys have been shaped by bigger forces. When I see a mountain, I see a perfect adaptation of trees, rocks, streams, lakes, and animals to all the natural forces at play. I suppose that is part of my contempt for human design being flawed.

The human world of cities and towns is the product of our limited understanding of the natural world and our desire to perfect it. We might put a "smart" or an "i" in front of something yet we still live in a world of pollution, traffic, car crashes, disease, and unhappy endings. To study a human design is to study inefficiencies, but to study a natural design is to study perfection. It's not surprising when our best designs utilize natural designs like honeycombs, photosynthesis, and river systems.

After indulging myself in several months of high mileage running, I took the past few weeks off to let my body heal and live completely inversed in the man made world. I went out to eat, I drank lots of beer, I watched TV, I went shopping, and I visited the zoo. The end result was that I felt further away from the creator, and closer to the designs of whatever humans designed the train I was riding, the Panda enclosure I visited, the shopping center I walked through. In this sense, I felt less spiritual and more depressed about the problems in our world.

The East Face of Mt. Whitney
I've had these running withdrawal symptoms before, but I've never been able to pinpoint the causes until this weekend when I went to the Eastern Sierras. As I left the comfort of my car and the man-made world at the trail head, I entered the steep, rough, and challenging world of the Mountaineer's Route. Unlike the Mt. Whitney trail, the Mountaineer's Route is not manmade except for the occasional cairn and small stretch of cleared dirt in the trees. Much of it simply is loose rocks, boulders, or granite slabs. The intimacy of the route is painful at first until the eyes gaze upward at the hulking pillars driving into the sky.

The Mountaineer's Route

For me, these moments are blazing signals of a creator whose wisdom resulted in a wilderness that the epitome of perfect design. The joy I feel in scrambling the last few vertical feet over the ledge is not merely a sense of accomplishment, but a joy in understanding our creator's perfect design both in the environment and within ourselves. Running is a vehicle for passionately studying the brilliant designs of our creator, and as long as your eyes are open, I promise you'll never waste a day spent in the wilderness.

A design at work, inspired by mountains.
Running was very casual for the past three weeks:
Aug 05, 2013 - Aug 11, 2013
  • 23.0mi
  • 3hr 34m
  • 1,706ft
Aug 12, 2013 - Aug 18, 2013
  • 20.1mi
  • 7hr 42m
  • 1,478ft  
Aug 19, 2013 - Aug 25, 2013
  • 52.4mi
  • 12hr 17m
  • 16,924ft
But the good news is that I feel great again, and have no lingering injuries. I'm actually having a hard time deciding where to race next.. I might not do much just so I can enjoy the late summer and fall in the Eastern Sierras.

New favorite artist: Shakey Graves mix of folk, blues, and eclectic lyrics


Scotty Kummer said...

I feel most spiritual when running in nature. Couldn't agree more. Great thoughts and great pictures.

Unknown said...

Thanks for this. For a long time I've tried explaining to people the connection I feel with the earth. Especially when climbing or running. Thanks for sharing the words I've been trying to find.

Anonymous said...

This is a beautifully written piece. Great photographs too! Thank you for sharing this :)

Unknown said...

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