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

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Taking the back roads, May 1975: Fargo, GA

Even travel by hitching rides is speedy using the Interstate Highway system. Earlier this year, by staying on the road, I was able to get from Cleveland, OH to Gainesville, FL in little more than nineteen hours. Returning north in late spring, I wanted to test the old highway system. It was my purpose to travel slowly and savor the pace of folks who were not in a great hurry to traverse vast distances. Heading north from Gainesville on Highway 441, it took a day to reach High Springs a distance of about seventeen miles. Some folks brought me to the springs that make up the source of the Itchetucknee River, one of the headwaters of the Old Suwannee. I toted enough groceries to last for a day camping and another day of travel when I made it north of Lake City. The following day I managed to cross the Georgia border. By that evening my food was exhausted and I was stuck out on a stretch of highway far away from any apparent provisions saving those growing in the fields surrounding me. But immature peanuts and cotton did not seem edible regardless.
There also was not much traffic. Not having much choice, I continued walking, with no idea of how far it would be until a town or a country store would show up. I considered doubling back, but that would be quite a distance also and scant traffic was headed that way either. Suddenly a car came up at a very high rate of speed. I whirled around and flashed my thumb. A car load of teens whizzed past. They did not stop, but shouted loudly and unintelligibly, as they rocketed by. Their vehicle did not have a license plate and by its looks was probably not road safe. Also, something flew away from the car and landed in the road several hundred feet further up the road. I plodded on, pondering whether it was probably fortunate, I had not received a ride. When I got to the item that flew from their car, it turned out to be an intact package of fried pork rinds. After retrieving it, I thought, “ What a strange supper.” But then I noticed behind me was an abandoned farmhouse with an open wraparound covered porch. Its front yard was overgrown with ripe plump blackberries. Now it seemed an adequate feasting and resting place were in front of me. Later I reclined on that porch both sated and grateful.

1 comment:

Mary said...

Rob, I just wanted to assure you that I'm a regular reader even though I haven't left you any comments so far. I'm enjoying these vignettes from the past quite a lot. I also think your writing is getting more natural and to have an easier flow to it. Keep up the good work!
- Mary Elizabeth

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.