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 4, 2008

Loaves and fishes, part 2, March '75: Grassy Key, FL

Living in an improvised tent city during the recession that ravished this country during the mid 1970’s meant folks had to be resourceful to meet their basic needs. Having a place to squat and not having to suffer cold weather meant that a couple of the elements were covered. Food was another matter. The Keys of Florida are not a place where large quantities of food are grown. Most items beside seafood have to be trucked in and sold at high prices. Our community worked together to provide sustenance for all. It seemed all would partake of whatever showed up. All 50 or so folks ate together scattered about the beach.
A few of the crew got together fishing gear and headed up and down the shore gathering fish. When the fish cooperated, we were grateful. Others of the band searched about for coconuts to glean. It seemed there were trees that had gone wild and if not gathered their fruit would only go to rot. Our abundance of coconuts was supplemented by an occasional piece of citrus, mostly limes or kumquats. Someone discovered a source of good produce. The supermarket in Marathon, would on a daily basis dispose of produce that while still good was not presentable for sale. After talking to their produce manager, he agreed to set these items on the back landing instead of placing them in the dumpster. After we took our lot we would sweep and clean up the loading dock. This helped supply our stores with needed daily requirements. Soon another windfall would show up that gave us an increased variety for our manna.
Occasionally a freezer would break down and after a short length of time, its contents would begin defrosting. It was told us that in Florida such food would by law have to be disposed. On these occasions large quantities of thawing foodstuffs would make their way to our encampment. When this happened we would have large quantities but small variety. The first time we obtained over 200 lbs. of bacon and a similar quantity of margarine. This was more than we could use and we had no facilities for storage. We begin to search for other places that had needs for food and shared with them, Also on the occasion when a freezer broke down we would likely suffer a tinge of gluttony. One time we even went overboard. After a spell when the fishing was not profitable and other sources seemed to be sparing, we were all on a bit of a fast.
One day in late afternoon, when the energy was low from lacking nutrition, one of our vehicles came bounding down the beach with its horn blaring and wild shouts from its driver and passengers. The cause of the commotion was the exciting news that another freezer had succumbed. Hurriedly, a crown gathered round to examine the booty. We had scored several cases of Tee Vee dinners. There was a scrambling for large pots that we could prepare the separate ingredients in large quantities and enjoy a feast. I went up the beach to spread the news we were ready to break the fast. One of my stops was to visit Michelle, Richard, and Tom, folks visiting from Hawaii.
After sharing the news, we discussed the prudence in the face of coming off a fast with large quantities of greasy salty food. Instead of campaigning to force everyone to be moderate and not overindulge, we decided to hold ourselves around our fire and share our course with anyone who choose to join us. Several folks dropped by to share our good fortune at receiving a large bounty. Only a few stayed with us to continue our fast and figure a way to slowly get back to the banquet. The overwhelming numbers of folks we witnessed that evening and the next morning suffering from overindulgence confirmed the wisdom of our decision and filled us with gratitude that we could withstand the temptation to join in the celebration.

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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.