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, April 11, 2008

Beginning a detour, January 1975: Athens, TN

As soon as I started walking up the ramp, a shiny white Lincoln Continental Town Car pulled over to scoop me off the road. As soon as I got in the passenger seat, Jack, the driver pointed at the floor in front of me to a case of cold beer on ice. He said, “Help your self. It’s afternoon, so, it’s OK.” I had a beer at lunch and another seemed like a fine idea on a warming afternoon. No sooner had I popped off the top, Jack went on to get his car running at over 110 MPH. He flicked a switch on his steering wheel, looked over, smiled and added, “This baby’s got cruise control, All we got to do is sit back and enjoy the ride. He even lifted his feet off the floor and assumed a crossed legged sitting position.” He seemed comfortable and in control as we zoomed down the Interstate quickly passing everything in our way. It took only an instant to eclipse two State Troopers setting up a radar on a tripod next to the highway. In that fleeting instant I saw one of the troopers jump up, grab his Smokey the Bear hat with both hands, and click his heels. We continued to race away at over 110. It was almost as if Jack did not notice.
I was amazed at how quickly two Ford Interceptor police cruisers caught up with us. Jack quickly complied with there motion to pull over. He stayed in the driver’s seat, as one of the Troopers walked up to the window and politely asked to see some ID and registration. The first piece of ID Jack flashed was his ATF agent Identification. The officer glanced at it and stated, “You may well be an Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Agent, but you still cannot be cruising on my highway, drinking your beers at over a hundred miles and hour.” Jack was apologetic and all three of the officers of the law soon were engaging in conversation, and exchanging police stories. It seemed the air was lightening up and we were probably going to be allowed on our way. As yet, neither of the officers had focused on me. Soon the effects of drinking a couple of beers surfaced and I needed to take a leak. Maybe being slightly under the influence compromised my judgment, But I thought it a good idea to get out of the car, climb up a slight rise away from the highway, keep my back turned and relieve myself. In the middle of this process, I heard a shout, “What the hell do you think your doing?” I finished, zipped up, turned around and replied, “Sorry, I just had to take a leak.” “Don’t you know there are women and children going by out here. Let’s see some ID.” I couldn’t argue with him, there were women and children going by my turned back. I walked down and produced my ID. Upon checking he discovered they had apprehended an Army deserter. Quickly they figured this was a more important matter than dealing with one of their comrades in arms who was acting slightly indiscreet. I waved goodbye to Jack as they escorted me to their cruiser and took me to their local jail.
I was placed in a holding cell and notified that an FBI officer was being summoned from Cleveland. I thought, “Wow, an FBI agent coming all the way from Cleveland, I must be in lots of trouble.” Within an hour, a agent arrived, explained to the officers holding me that under the provisions of amnesty, I could not be held and got me released. He offered me a ride to his hometown of Cleveland TN, not that far away. Before letting me go he bought me a meal and suggested that I report to Fort Benjamin Harrison in Indianapolis and settle my matters with the Army. If not, he explained I would likely continue to be hassled if I was going to be hitchhiking around, since not all officers were aware of amnesty provisions. He was pleasant and convincing and when he let me out I decided to continue as far as Chattanooga, sleep on it and decide whether or not to turn back to the frigid north.

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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.