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, April 13, 2008

A fork in the road, September, 1975: Imperial , MO

I had just gotten back to Florida from British Columbia. Climate had changed from chilly damp approaching fall to hot burnt out lawns holding a last vestige of summer. Seeking some moderation, I wanted to head north to enjoy cool brisk fall. I had two destinations in mind. Both meant seeking out female friends. One, Cathy, was sojourning in Colorado and invited me to visit. The other, Jennifer, lived in Connecticut and issued a standing invitation to visit there. So I left northern Florida with no clear sense of destination. My first ride was heading to near Saint Louis, Missouri. “Perfect,” I thought “that is somewhere half way between my two choices. I can ride there and put off my decision until later.” My driver, Jack, had his right hand in a large cumbersome bandage. He asked if I could drive, since it was difficult for him with his hurt hand.
I agreed and took over most of the driving. During our trip, I heard Jack’s story. It consisting of drinking to much alcohol, blind rage directed at his girl friend, and culminated with a serious injury to his hand. As he recalled, at the height of one of his drunken outbursts he had enough foresight to direct is fury at a wall instead of his girl friend. He stated reasonably, “ I knew if I hit her, there would be lots of trouble. So, I figured hitting the flimsy paneling covering a wall would be a better place to release my anger. What I did not see was that where I choose to strike was right over a solid stud.” Jack seemed to see the comedy of his situation; his deliberateness still invoked destruction, except it landed on him and he could laugh about it. He was heading to friend’s house near Saint Louis to take a break, heal his hand and perhaps get a grip on his anger. He regretted that his relationship had suffered on account of his rage. I was glad to provide my driving and listening skills. I also needed a chance to take a break and sort out a direction. We arrived a his friends ranch that seemed t be a shelter of sorts for several men sorting through vagaries of life.
There was plenty to do to pass time and sort out the future. I felt I had arrived at a safe place to hide out while I was determining my next direction. One toy that occupied much of my time was a full size pinball machine that did not require being feed quarters to operate. In little time, I mastered it and thought myself the “Pinball Wizard.” Just about the time that it was beginning to bore me a couple of things happened that sprung me into action. One, Jack who had stayed off alcohol for about two weeks decided to return to Florida and patch up his relationship. For me, I was taken by surprise to receive a birthday card from my mother. I was perplexed because I did not think she knew my whereabouts and I wondered what kind of tracks she followed that pointed here. Solving that puzzle sprung me into action and provided direction, I choose neither east or west but instead headed further north, hoping to cross into Canada and visit my daughter. Like Jack, I too, needed to work on patching important relationships.

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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.