Welcome to Balanced Rocks: Pictures and Stories

Beginning March 16,2010, I began a journey of balancing rocks. I hold to the practice of setting to balance at least five sculptures a day, sometimes, many more. Of these I take lots of pictures and videos. While conducting this adventure, I have been introduced to an incredible unfolding story. Additionally, I discovered this phenomenon is manifesting worldwide. As I post pictures and stories, I found many others similarly engaged and sharing their works. Additionally, as folks come upon me performing my work, many want to find out how this is done and try themselves. This blog shares this work in both pictures and stories. Enjoy


A seeming impossibility becomes possible

Rock Balancing: The Beginning

On a fine summer day, sometime in August, 2009, I was visiting family in Toronto. Like most folks spending summer in a large city, we used up as much time as we could finding outdoor events that would cool us. One afternoon, we headed to the Beaches section of East Toronto. After spending some time playing in a large sandbox in the shade with my grandkids and some of their newfound companions, we headed to the Boardwalk that extends from Balmy Beach to Kew Gardens. Ella accompanied me, Liam took off with his mom, Natalie. They ventured down the boardwalk, Ella and I headed onto the sand toward the water’s edge. Halfway there we encountered what looked like a small size Stonehenge.

About a dozen sculptures were gathered together in a rough circle. Each was a stack of two or three rocks balanced one on another. The tallest one was slightly taller than Ella, who was small average height for a five year older. All were in the neighborhood of three feet and four feet tall. What immediately jumped out was the precarious nature of the balancing. Most points of contact were miraculously slight. Most seemed to be standing on a point. Two more folks were witnessing this amazing display. We imagined that there must be small metal rods embedded at the point of contact, or else some kind of glue was used. Each of us peered from close low angles to detect what could account for this mystical display. Ella, not being so cautious, toppled one structure over. Luckily, it did not land on her.

I hurried over and picked up the fallen rock. I saw no evidence of a rod or glue. It indeed had been balanced on its pedestal. I lifted it up and tried to place it back where I reckoned it had been balanced. I cautioned Ella, to be careful and not upset any more sculptures and went about the task of finding balance. I was not successful and struggled immensely but did not find the magic spot where stability could be achieved. After a lengthy effort, an attractive Asian woman about my age approached and gently nudged me aside offering to demonstrate her work. She pointed to the spot she would set the stone upon. She called it by a foreign name. To me it looked like a slight dimple.

Placing the small end of the upper rock into that hollow, she deftly and quickly moved it around, slightly twisting and cajoling it into position. The sight of this slender woman with longish graying hair performing an intricate dance with a rock slightly larger than her head emanated calmness. It seemed only the ends of her fingers were used to achieve these small movements. Apparently, equilibrium was close. Shortly she was done and withdrew her palms which naturally assumed an open prayer posture. The rock I had grappled with was majestically resting in its previous stable state. She next went over and reset two other structures, I had not noticed were also amiss. I just took them to be part of the rubble strewn about the beach. Now all the display was standing and providing a small sense of order in our chaotic world.

I never got this woman’s name, but heard her story. She had set this display up for the purpose of taking pictures, one of which she hoped to use for a cover of a book she was publishing. Unfortunately not getting her name makes it difficult to find her book. But I carried away with me the sight of her presentation and the incredible feeling I had witnessed an amazing ethereal event. I also felt an urge to explore this practice.

Rock in the Snow

Rock in the Snow
January in Toronto

Saturday, March 29, 2008

At the edge, January 1975: Chattanooga, TN

I arrived in late afternoon. The weather seemed mild, especially considering two days previously I had been as far north as Niagara Falls. Having time, I decided to travel west into the city and return later to find a place to sleep. Quickly a car with a couple of youngsters stopped for me. They were only going into town to score some pot and would be returning to this same spot later. When I disclosed my plan to go into town and see the sights and then return later, they offered to let me ride with them and they would drop me back where they picked me up. It seemed like good fortune was smiling upon me in addition to an offer to share a taste of marijuana, to which I was not adverse. We had to pass through a tunnel to arrive in Chattanooga.
The tunnel offered a slight upward tilt to those traveling toward town. The view at the end of the tunnel was only of the sky. It almost seemed we were traveling down the length of a huge gun barrel heading to be shot into space. As we approached the end of the tunnel the view of the now darkening sky increased with no sign of ground. Only at the instant of emergence from the tunnel did the roadway slant downward exposing a magnificent view of a lit up metropolis. We proceeded through the city to Rossville GA, so that my hosts could conduct their transaction. They were excellent tour guides as they pointed out sites of interest, provided stories of local lore, and stopped for a quick meal at a fast food eatery. By the time they returned me to the highway, I felt ready for a good night’s rest.
Exchanging wishes for a Good Night, my benefactors deposited me on the eastern slope of the mountain we passed through earlier. Not too far up was the crest and being dark it looked like a good place to spread out my ground cloth. It was quite dark, but luckily the path was over grass and there were no obstacles to stumble upon. At the peak a commanding view of the city presented it self and I decided to stop there and set up for the night. Before going to sleep I marveled at the wonderful view and mild weather. It seemed a Blessing. Only in the morning was I able to see how blessed it was. As I arose, in the light I could see that only a few steps further, would have taken me over a brink that led at least a hundred feet down to railroad tracks. The previous night in the dark, I had no idea I was that close to an abrupt edge. I began this day with thanks to whatever impulse governed my stopping when I did.

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Blog Archive

About Me, Part One

My photo
Rock Balancing: The Beginning. What began as a journal of my travels took a hiatus when I began to settle in Ithaca NY. In the meantime, I took up the practice of setting rocks to balance. I returned to my blog to begin recording this story

Part, The second

On Easter Sunday Morning, 2008, I made a decision to settle in the Ithaca New York area. At the same time, I decided to continue to post my blog, However, the stories now will come from the archive stored internally. These will be the stories I gathered while on previous journeys and never entrusted to paper. The date of each posting will not reflect the date of the story being related but will mark the date that narrative got inscribed.

Carry wood

Carry wood
33 years later

Part: The third

I took a brief hiatus from my daily blog writing. I did not know the direction it would take. part of me thought I would abandon it. It turns out I missed it. The old title "On the Road Again' is no longer apt. It appears I am settling. The travel stories will age to a point, when I will probably resusitiate them and do something with them. I dusted off some old stories and begin this new series.
Thr first is one was written two years ago. I edited it and begin again a series that is more apropos to someone settling in upper New York State. They are meant to warm, amuse, educate and sometimes inflame.