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 18, 2008

Off to the mountains, July, 1975: Okanagan, BC

We arrived at Terry’s house just in time to join in breakfast. She quickly greeted her boyfriend Dwayne and headed off to her appointment. Several young folks lived here and all relished a taste of cannabis once in a while. I was tiring of carrying the load I had brought from Ottawa, so after giving Marshall a share for his kindness and delivering us to the door, I handed out the rest to the house crew. It surely made their day. Next, I met a couple of young women who shared the same birthday as me. We decided to form a team and travel together to an area in the interior of British Columbia. One of the woman, Sue, had a cabin there. Her husband had taken their two kids and went back to New York. She did not like staying in her mountain dwelling alone. Alison, the other of the newly forming trio, also lived near Sue’s cabin. They had come together to the city to escape cabin fever. I came west to find opportunity to visit the mountains. It seemed fitting we should meet and join together. That quelled any notion I had of joining Marshall on Vancouver Island. We wished each other well on our next adventures. He left me his address should I want to visit later. He planned on staying there for a full year. We waited around until Terry returned, hugged farewell, then headed east into the mountains.

Our ride appeared in the form of an old panel truck loaded with a crew of young Quebecois men, headed by Michel the driver. These guys had spent the summer on a western adventure. Today they were headed to the interior to find some work picking. It sounded like a reasonable adventure and we accepted their invitation to join them. Sitting on the floor of a panel truck with no windows pretty much eliminated sightseeing. So, the back floor passengers spent time in song and conversations in two languages. We arrived in Kelowna early enough to secure a picking opportunity in a cherry orchard. The first evidence of picking schemes presented itself.

Beginning pickers are assigned the barest trees at first. You are required to completely strip a tree before being assigned to another. The boss also takes care of the assignment. Cherries are slight and the container that you are paid $15 to fill seems large. If you do not fill the container by the end of the day, there is no pay. By dark, picking ended and only about three quarters of us had picked enough to make a wage. We pooled our earnings, drove to town, filled with gas and brought back foodstuffs, alcohol, and tobacco. We were permitted to camp out in the orchard. It was a low key dinner and campfire we enjoyed as all of us were exhausted by the half day of hard work. We fell asleep in scattered places, in the truck and on the ground. Luckily, the weather was mild and dry providing a good night's rest for worn out neophyte fruit pickers.

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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.