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

Monday, April 14, 2008

Heading out west: July, 1975: Ottawa, ON

For a long time I had a dream about going to British Columbia. It was the middle of summer and probably a good time to be hiking across the prairies. I had made it to Toronto and spent most of the month of June staying with Roy and Sue. While there I had taken on the task of turning their unfinished basement into a guest room, recreation room, and laundry room. After I finished, Roy asked if what I would like for payment for my labor. Half in jest, I blurted, “A pound of pot would be nice.” Roy took it seriously and provided a kilo brick of fine Mexican imported marijuana that day. With that in my pack I mentioned, “I think it’s time to head out west.” Roy added, “ I figured as much. I hope you have an exellent trip.” He then drove me to the highway. Before, heading out west, I headed to Ottawa to visit and share some of my fortune with Richard and Lisa. I was adverse to the idea of selling drugs, figuring it was bad karma. However, I would share. On my visit, Lisa drove me to a pleasant park along the banks of the Rideau Canal. It provided a wonderful setting to contemplate my next endeavor. It was here I met Terry, who would become my traveling companion all the way to Vancouver.
The air throughout the park was filled with the pungent odor of burning marijuana. It seemed a safe place to enjoy a smoke. I had twisted up a joint and carried it over to the gorgeous young blonde woman sitting by herself. I used a common greeting, “Wanna smoke one?” She agreed. I sat down and sparked up the joint which we shared. Terry told me she was on her way from her native Quebec to Vancouver. It was imperative that she be there on Monday morning. She had an appointment with the Unemployment Bureau, that if missed, would make her ineligible to collect. She had used all her money to purchase a bus ticket to Calgary. This would still leave her far short of her destination. Seeing that it was already late afternoon Thursday, time was beginning to squeeze. I quickly figured if we stayed on the road, we could likely make it on time. I offered to accompany her hitching a ride. I even suggested that if she could get a refund on her bus ticket, her funds would be enough to cover our expenses and my stash of pot would be enough to cover our discomfort and angst.
My friend Lisa showed up and drove us around Ottawa to assemble our gear for our journey. Terry had to pick up her pack and then we had to go to the bus station to exchange her ticket for cash. That happened without a hitch and we became well funded. We then had to return to Lisa’s to pick up my pack. Lisa and Richard hosted us a fine dinner before setting out on the road. We began our journey while there was still four or five hours of daylight. That gave us a heads up on finding a lengthy ride to start our adventure.


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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.