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 24, 2008

Refections on the journey, August, 1975: Slocan, BC

For the next few days, while bonding with my new companion, Kootenay, I spent much time in reflection of this journey. It was just about one year since I had left Toronto to take a large job painting and remodeling a sizeable old mansion in Niagara-on-the-Lake. In the process, I had broken up a long term relationship with Liz and received custody of our child, Yolo, a two year old black lab. He was named after a town in California where he was born. His people were Greg and Melinda, who moved back to Toronto. Their living situation precluded them having an animal so they bequeathed him to Liz and I in the spring. Melinda was a weaver and spent her days over a loom. Greg was a poet and an inspiration for me because he had the nerve to read his material. I had begun writing but yet did not have the courage to share my endeavors publicly. The pain of breaking up a relationship and the isolation of moving to a small town where I knew no one provided ample opportunity to create poetry.
By connecting with my creative energy, I bumped into other artists. My journey into that fellowship opened up an ever expanding network of painters, sculptors, carvers, writers, performers, singers, dancers and the like. One poet, Phoenix, who published her work and the works of others was an inspiration and muse. She encouraged my idea to take a journey to gather stories and witness our world. Venturing about unencumbered intrigued me and I wondered and thought about means and direction of travel. Last fall, I practiced journeying about Ontario, sometimes in my van and sometimes hitching a ride. I was always accompanied by Yolo.
More than once, I was offered a ride during harsh weather and my benefactor would announce, “ I stopped because I felt so sorry for your poor dog out in this weather.” It seemed strange they could acknowledge his plight but seemed to ignore I was out in the same weather. Never the less, I was grateful for the lift and thanked them for a ride. On one occasion, I went into a hotel/restaurant for a bowl of stew and piece bread. While sitting at the counter having my meal, I noticed out the back door Yolo feasting on a large bone from a beef roast. It appeared to have several pounds of meat still on it. The chef told me he felt sorry for the dog, he looked so hungry. I mused I should be following Yolo on a journey instead of the other way round. Before embarking, my van lost a wheel bearing and front wheel spindle. Not having the funds nor desire to repair it, I traded it to pay off a debt and decided to take to the road by thumb. I determined a long term road trip would likely not be a good journey for Yolo, so I left him to a good home with Liz’s folks on a farm in Smith Falls, Ontario.
Fall was approaching and again I was pondering a means and direction of travel. And like last fall, I had a canine companion. Recently while working in Osoyoos, I met Tom, a young man who traveled with a small puppy. He kept a red bandana tied around his pup’s neck as a collar. He would attach a piece of twine to this as a leash. In this manner he could control his dog while hiking down on roadways. His dog, Bear, also was allowed in the fields during harvest and was not a nuisance in camp. He displayed the possibility of accompanying a hitchhiker. With this in mind. I decided to take Kootenay with me. We prepared to head back to Osoyoos to garner some more funds for the next phase of our adventure. Alongside packing, I unpacked my feelings of leaving behind an excellent summer in the southeastern mountain region of British Columbia.


No comments:

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.