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

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Wet to the bones, September 1975: Nelson BC

Wet to the bones, September 1975: Nelson, BC
By the beginning of September the rainy season seemed well entrenched. Parts of British Columbia east of the Okanogan Valley while not suffering drenching rains were cloud covered most of the time and if not actually raining there was constant moisture in the air. Having spent most of the past six weeks staying in a tent, myself and belongings were thoroughly damp. I was feeling the need to move south to a dry climate. The picking season was dwindling. This meant that any remaining work would likely not be lucrative and because of the weather carried out in adverse conditions. The small wages I made during good harvesting times was spent. So, I headed off with empty pockets, knowing I would be observing a fast of sorts until I got to warm dry weather. If I had any wishes, they would be for a can of chewing tobacco to keep gnawing hunger at bay and dry socks to provide physical comfort.
My first ride was provided by an elderly man, who expressed gratitude when I agreed to give him a hand. His story was that after a lifetime working on his own farm in Saskatchewan, he tired of driving up and down the same section planting identical crops each year. Selling his farm, he used the proceeds to move to BC and purchase an old mine. With it came large piles of tailings. These he contracted with the provincial government to crush and provide them with gravel. He had purchased a large mobile conveyer. He was going to retrieve it and needed help raising it up and hooking it to his pickup. This is the hand I would provide. On the way, he explained that he needed two workers to man the machinery at the mine over the coming winter. He would provide food and lodging for them over the winter and it was likely they would be trapped up in the mountains until the following spring. The bonus is that upon the advent of spring a sizeable pay would be due. It was an intriguing offer that I mulled over while about our task.
We were successful loading up his equipment and returned to the highway that led to the US border. I decided to follow my inclination to head south. He offered me twenty dollars for my help. I thanked him and after we parted I went into a dry goods store and purchased a tin of tobacco and pair of socks. I set off to seek warm dry weather. Often that winter I thought about the missed opportunity, because I had not taken his contact information to follow up on his offer, should my mind change.

No comments:

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.