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

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Wow! What a drive: Ocala, FL

Now I realize why I take the back roads and meander. Long trips, especially by plane, get my physical body relocated much before the rest of me arrives. But the good news is we are here. A small event jumped into my day that gave me pause and reflection. Early on, I was having difficulty finding a space at the Buffalo Airport long term parking lot. It was not only crowded but the few available spaces were deep in snow that had yet to be cleaned out. I seemed to be one of about a dozen cars that were circling the lot hoping to land on a space should it appear. We were acting like vultures, as our only chance appeared to consist of following a party that was returning to their car.

Finally, I noticed a space behind a snow plow vehicle that was sitting with its engine running and no operator in sight. I gauged that it was a tight squeeze to fit between the plow and the adjacent car. It also involved some deft maneuvering, as it was not a straight in shot. Feeling pressure to get to the check-in line, I decided to attempt the squeeze. I manage to get the bulk of my vehicle past the rear bumper of the snowplow truck. As I was beginning to start the jockeying part of my parking attempt, the shuttle bus driver watching me honked and got me to stop. I got out and walked over to him to size up the matter from his viewpoint. I could then see that my idea was futile because there was not enough room to complete the turn I was attempting.

I returned to my car and slowly proceeded to get myself out of the jam I was in. Because I knew that my wheels were cocked from my turn attempt, I had to steer back into a straightaway extraction. As I crawled forward, I felt the urge to halt and examine my position. As I looked around I noticed that the truck’s bumper was beginning to push against my rear passenger window. I got out, sized up the situation and extrapolated the angle it would take to halt the process of pushing my window up against a large piece of metal. There was no doubt in my mind which part would give. Altering my angle of attack, I got out of that pickle with nothing broken and only the slightest paint smudge from the bumper on my glass.
Shortly, The snowplow operator returned, apologized for the delay, moved ahead and I parked quickly with no complications. I boarded the shuttle, now crowded with intended flyers, and we headed to the parking lot exit. As we got there, the driver noticed the automatic gate was not operating and someone had driven through and broke off one side in order to affect an escape. As he sat there, gauging whether there was enough room to squeeze by, another shuttle passenger emerged, entered the bus and sat next to me. I quickly told her my short parking attempt story and questioned what is the meaning of all these tight squeezes appearing. This included the angst coming from the shuttle bus passengers who felt the need to proceed to their respective boarding gates. I informed the driver that there was enough room on my side of the bus to get by and encouraged him to make his way forward. When he eased through I offered , "Congratualtions, good job." Being grateful my PT-RV had escaped unscathed, I spent a lengthy part of the time passing through the boarding process meditating on tight scraps, and by the skin of our teeth escapes.

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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.