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

Friday, March 28, 2008

Mardi Gras 1975: New Orleans, LA

Mardi Gras 1975: New Orleans, LA
It was the beginning of Mardi Gras in New Orleans. While it was only Friday morning of the week before Fat Tuesday, parades were scheduled to begin that evening. Preparations were underway. Truckloads of barricades were delivered and set up along the parades routes. It appeared the workers were mostly short term prisoners who were pressed into unchanged gangs. As it turned out, many of the homeless element were taken off the street, provided meals, quarters, and used in service to the festivities. Apparently most of their offenses were misdemeanors that were given sentences to be served concurrent with festival. Many of the folks I met when I first got into town, I later saw on a daily basis cleaning up the debris from previous night’s celebrations.
On one of the streets at the edge of the French Quarter, in what looked like an abandoned warehouse, several folks were steadying a stepladder. One guy was on the ladder fiddling with a light fixture. Pops and sparks emitted, accompanied by shouts of, “What’s that? Be careful.” I approached and offered to help. Having knowledge of electricity I quickly installed a few fixtures and they now had lights in their spaciousness. They were setting up a flophouse for the expected hoards who may not have resources to stay in regular hostelries. This location planned to charge a buck a night for a mattress and provide a rice and bean breakfast. For my lending a hand, I was awarded space and food for the duration. Having secured victuals and lodging, I was free to partake in the revelry.
Another sizeable contingent was squatting on unflooded areas beneath the wharfs along the banks of the Mississippi River. Their only fee was having to avoid the Navy Shore Patrol. One evening, I accompanied a couple of this band to where they received meals. They brought me to a Christian Rescue Mission on the other side of the Quarter. A group of well dressed, clean cut young people were stationed near the doorway interviewing the folks waiting entrance to a meal. One pleasant young man asked, “Do you accept Jesus as your Personal Savior?” Without an answer to this question I would not be admitted to the meal. Several couples nearby were engaged in some sort of ritual that supposedly instilled Jesus into the recipient’s heart and granted admission to the dining room. My response was, “If you are Christian, the only requirement to provide me with food , is that I am hungry. Putting any condition beyond that seems contrary to Jesus’ Message.” My host and I held lengthy discourse on the subject of Jesus' Teaching. Since I was not desperately hungry, I did not relent from my stance. After consultation with an elder, my host gave in and escorted me to the dining room. As luck would have it, dinner was finished and I could only get a cup of tea, but offered to help clean up. They declined my offer and I left to go watch that evening’s Krewe parade by throwing out coins and beads.

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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.