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

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

One light is on, the other is out, July, 1975: Moosomin, SK

After taking over driving, I found that our vehicle was best kept under 40 MPH. Above that speed,it just did not feel safe. At this pace, being a driver was not as tedious as being one of the passengers. And mine had been asleep since I took over sometime in the heart of night. By the middle of morning my crew awoke and we discussed plans for coffee and a meal. We settled on cups to go and some groceries we could take to a roadside rest area and have a picnic. Gary was in a foul mood and mostly disagreeable. He was mostly interested in stopping the car and continuing his rest and recovery. Terry and I felt the need to push on since after 36 hours we were still in Ontario. However, that is still saying something. The Florida border is closer to Toronto than is the Manitoba border which we hoped to cross before nightfall. When we found a rest area we decided to abandon Gary to his needed nap and his vehicle to its needed rest and continue heading westward.
We were quickly given a lift by a pleasant elderly couple whose car cruised at normal breakneck speed. It felt good to be making good headway after a day and half crawling along. We were only with these folks for a little over an hour and made nearly seventy miles. They let us out just past Thunder Bay where the Trans Canada Highway heads due west through the boundary waters between Minnesota and Ontario. Once past this gorgeous stretch we would be in Manitoba. But here our luck slowed down. We stood on the edge of the highway for quite a while. Just about the time our feeling of moving along pretty well evaporated, we spotted Gary’s car approaching. He pulled right over and welcomed us back aboard. The hour we gained was now repaid. We resumed our creep westward. Early Saturday evening we arrived in Winnipeg.
Gary announced, “On Saturday night, I always get really drunk. I’m going to get a case of beer and drink it all. If you want to keep driving, OK. But I’m staying in the backseat and drink until I pass out.” Being mindful, that we needed to press on to have any chance of getting to Vancouver by Monday morning, I agreed to stay the driver. Besides having Gary passed out, hopefully, meant he would be easier to handle. We found a beer store got him and our car tanked up and headed off toward the setting sun. Behind us in the east, the hefty face of a full moon was beginning to beam upon us. Traveling slightly faster than horseback, we begin crossing the Canadian prairies.
By the time we had exhausted our tank of fuel Gary had likewise consumed all of his. He was safely in the rear seat sleeping off the effects of alcohol overdose. Somewhere in the middle of the grasslands, we found an all night gas station, pulled in and filled up for another leg. Rather than rouse a sleeping beast we deciding to pay for this tank of gas with some of Terry’s dwindling supply of cash. As we went to leave we were confronted with another problem, the battery was dead. We got the station to provide us with a charge while we rested our car and selves. In short time we were ready to resume our trek. I realized that the problem was our generator was not providing a charge, Not having tools or funds to have it repaired, I figured out a way to continue our journey. The roads were straight, the moon bright, and hardly any traffic. So, I turned off the headlights, used the moonlight to illuminate our way, and saved the battery to fire spark plugs. Whenever I noticed a vehicle approaching, I flicked on the lights till they passed. In fits and starts of light we got all the way across Manitoba. It was nearly light when we stopped at a truck stop diner for their breakfast special. Gary did not join us, but stayed in his stupor in the back seat.


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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.