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

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Rolling down Highway 41, April 1975: Adel, GA

Rolling down Highway 41, April 1975: Adel, GA
The weather was beginning to put on its warm attire. As soon as the sun began to climb, it felt like clothing should come off or at least get lighter. I was headed north with a companion, Esperanza. She was from California and had spent previous summers in the Philadelphia area in school. My previous spring and summers were used up in Ontario. Even by mid morning our enthusiasm to stand and energetically thumb a ride was sapped. The lack of traffic headed up our ramp to Interstate 75 further diminished our spirit to move on. We ended up reclining on our packs beside the road pondering our dilemma. A guy manning a broom swept by and offered, “You two don’t look like you want to go anywhere. Looking like that, I don’t think you’ll get a ride.” That seemed to make sense. So we picked up our gear and headed down the ramp and into town.
It was a slow journey, made longer by the friendly folks who engaged us in conversation. There were offers to stay around, find jobs, and buy a vehicle. A used car dealer even offered us on the spot financing, on the condition we accepted jobs in his uncle’s warehouse. We could not consider his offer since we were determined to somehow make it north toward more hospitable climate. By mid afternoon we were at the one stoplight intersection that marked the center of town. We figured that were probably not going to get any substantial rides that day and finding a place to set up a camp probably was a fair hike from the middle of this small town. Federal highway 41 was the north-south component of our crossroads. To facilitate getting out of town, we decided to separate and head in opposite directions. Esperanza would head north, I south. Whenever one of us got the ride, we would rejoin and head in that direction. A fast moving car, passed me, honked, and screeched to a halt about a block south. We gathered our belongings and hurried to our ride.
As we approached, I noticed a hand lettered message painted across the trunk. It offered the single word, “Boogie.” We anticipated some real Southern Hospitality. Once we got aboard, Gail, sizing up our situation, offered us a meal and quarters in her air conditioned trailer. After a chicken fried steak meal and some relaxing company, Gail offered the both of us a place in her king size bed. It seemed tempting, except during the evening she disclosed that her boyfriend, currently in jail, had a habit of escaping, tracking her down, and going on a violent rampage. I choose a single bed in the extra bedroom. If her boyfriend did show up, I hoped that finding two women in the big bed may temper his passion for destruction. It turned a peaceful night. In the morning, Gail helped us ship some of our stuff ahead via US mail and dropped us off on the same Interstate ramp that derailed us the day before. Thus lightened we proceeded to quickly catch a ride all the way to South Bend, Indiana.

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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.