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, April 17, 2008

Hallelujah, we made it, July, 1975: Vancouver, BC

As soon as we finished breakfast, we returned to the car to resume our slouch toward Vancouver. I discovered that the problem with our generator was a loose belt. With some borrowed tools, I was able to tighten the belt and restore our ability to charge the battery. We had to part with some more of our money to get a jump start. As soon as the engine fired up, Gary awoke and demanded we shut it down. “You have been driving all night and it needs a rest and cooling off,” he screamed. To no avail could I appeal that we had been stopped for two hours, and it was not we nor the car that required cooling. We took Gary into the diner, got him some coffee and decided we desired to head out on our own. He apologetically pleaded with us to continue with him and promised he would not be as angry. We stood firm and refused to continue with him. We said goodbye when he headed away and stayed for one more cup of coffee to give traffic a chance to pick up. Just as we were gathering our gear to head out to the road, Gary’s car reentered the parking lot and he made one more appeal for us to relent and come with him. We refused, he doggedly left, and we caught a ride in the first vehicle that appeared.
A car towing a popup camper pulled over; we got in and joined Marshall. His back seat was filled with his belongings. There was just enough room to fit our gear amidst his and we all crowded into the front seat. Thankfully his car was newer, roomy and traveled at a good speed. He left his long term relationship at Winnipeg the previous night and was headed to Vancouver Island. He was intent on making it there by the next morning. It seemed we had caught a ride that would enable us to keep Terry’s appointment. Amid the gear in the back was a large cooler filled with lemonade, sandwich meat, cheeses and condiments. This meant we did not have to stop for eating and could press on to the Pacific shore. We moved right along, eating, talking and enjoying one another’s company. We passed scores of hikers headed in both directions. We had no room to pick anyone else up but made a game of pulling over at each sighting and offering a cup of lemonade and a freshly twisted joint. By the beams on the faces of the folks we gifted we could tell we were imparting our greeting ,”Have a good one.” We did so well, we needed to stop and secure more paper cups and rolling papers.
Now that we were cramped into a tight space and away from the odor of stale alcohol, I could detect another annoying unpleasant smell, that of my feet. It seemed that my old sneakers, bare sweating feet and hot steamy weather made for a malodorous combination. As soon as I detected the stench, I requested we pull over and we stopped at a tavern stuck out in the middle of miles of corn field. Before, going into the washroom and cleaning my feet, I heaved my shoes as far into the corn as I could. I hope I did no damage to the farmer or his equipment when he harvested. With my clean bare feet we resumed our mission of providing refreshment to weary hikers. It stayed sweltering until we reached the elevations of the Rocky Mountains. At one point we even pulled over to take a swim in a lake. We got into swim clothes and joined some kids splashing near the shore. I jumped in from rock ledge. As soon as I hit the water my heart almost went into arrest, my dive reversed and I sprung from the lake. It turned out I had jumped from air temperature over 100 degrees into a glacial lake little over freezing. We all suffered the same fate, got refreshed nonetheless.
The rest of the day, traveling through the mountains, I was presented with two offers. I had to consider between staying where Terry was living. She shared a house with a boyfriend and several young folks, likely hippies. Marshall offered to take me to the Island. He would be staying there for some time while he completed lessons to obtain an instrument rating for his private pilots license. A friend of his was providing a house and he stated he would enjoy the company. I spent the remaining hours hurtling through the mountains toward Vancouver enjoying incredible vistas and romancing two enticing offers.

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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.