The second law of thermodynamics states that all things and systems are constantly in the process of expansion. Expansion, without adding new resources, leads to dissolution. And because every system is limited in resources, that means that everything in this universe is in a constant state of dissolution.

Anybody who has climbed a mountain can attest to this. From a distance, mountains appear to be the most eternal, solid and steadfast thing we know. But up close, a climber sees with every rock, grain of dirt, clod of snow falling downwards from your feet that a mountain is merely a temporal anomoly. They are falling apart–slowly but surely. The tectonic or volcanic activity that gave birth to them has long faded away. It’s only a matter of time before they too become flat land.

Then you come across a cairn–a pile of rocks piled together by another human that is used to mark the route. Amids the random slope of rocks, an orderly pile appears and you feel less alone and more certain of your path. A cairn is the manifestation of the human desire to give the second law of thermodynamics the finger: “I know you will eventually fall down, but while I’m here I’m going to do my damnedest to create a tiny bit of order in this universe.”

A cairn is a pile of rocks. But it’s much more than that. It’s a guide to the route to your objective. It’s an efficient and environmentally sound method of adding a sign to a trail. It’s even a work of art, bound by the strictest parameters of form and function and limited to found objects.

There’s one more thing about cairns: it takes a practiced eye to recognize them. A first-time mountain climber will often mistake a random pile of rocks for a man-made cairn, or fail to recognize a cairn. But after spending hundreds of hours in moutain rock fields, an experienced climber quickly discerns the difference between a cairn and a random group of rocks. And that’s why we chose the name Cairn Energy Research Advisors. We aim to be the experienced guide that looks at data and discerns patterns, which in turn leads our clients to their strategic objectives.