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 6, 2008

Getting no where slowly, March, 1975: West Palm Beach, FL

It was with intent I was proceeding slowly down the coast of Florida on highway A1A. It had taken three days to travel from Fort Pierce to just above Fort Lauderdale. It was just before sunrise, when a fairly new Cadillac convertible with top down pulled over to the curb and I was offered a ride. Readily, I jumped in and met the young couple who would be my companions for the day. Becky had come from Indiana to visit her grandmother, who was lending her and Charlie a car for the day. Not having much money, they brought a large bowl of change to finance their adventure. I added my meager allotment to the stash. Luckily, the car had come with a full tank of gas. We headed to visit the Everglades National Park. This meant we had to drive past Miami to Homestead. This allowed us a couple of hours to get acquainted. We even stopped at a large fruit and vegetable stand and got provisions for our adventure. Next we proceeded to the park entrance. Here we had to count up our funds and see if we had enough for the admission fee. We had not reckoned on having to pay to get in and it took a bit for us to count, project, and decide we would part with almost half our remaining funds and go in.

We were treated to a fine warm day exploring the various hammocks and boardwalks exhibiting Florida’s sub tropical underbelly. On one occasion we witnessed an alligator, with a swish of its tail, spring into action and gobble a fairly large turtle in one gulp. After many hours adventuring and observing flora and fauna unique to this area we got back into our car and retraced our path from the interior of the park. Along the way we noticed a dirt lane heading into a forested area off the main road. Our spirit of adventure surfaced and we decided to explore. Not too far into the woods, we came upon what looked like a sizeable yet deserted highway. We pulled up onto it and taking out a map, tried to figure out where we were headed. After several minutes we discovered we could not find our location on a tourist roadmap. The only way to find out was keep driving and see where it led to. Not too far into our journey, were we suddenly pulled over by a Military Police vehicle brandishing large caliber weapons. The soldiers confronted us with the question, “What the hell are your doing here and how did you get on our base?” We pointed back up the road and one of us answered, “We found a dirt road in the park that leads to here.” They knew the road. Apparently we had discovered a way that soldiers used to sneak off base when they tired of guarding Nike missiles. Believing we had no malicious purpose, the guards escorted us back to our entry point and admonished us to never use this entry again. We agreed, happy to be on our way. We certainly got our monies worth today.

Since I did not want to spend the night sleeping on the ground where alligators were common, I decided to ride back to West Palm Beach with my new friends. We spent the journey rehashing our day‘s adventure. We especially relished our adventure getting away with inadvertently sneaking on a missile base getting caught and set free. As darkness was settling, I was let off on the same corner where I had been picked up at the other end of the day. It seemed quite a lot happened to end up where I started.

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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.