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 2, 2008

Sometimes walking is faster, May, 1966: Fayetteville, NC

During my stay in New York City, I was able to buy an automobile. I found a 1955 Chevy Bellaire for $100. Even though it needed engine work, it seemed a good deal. A friend had a mechanic down in Brooklyn who rebuilt the engine for $175. So for less than three hundred, I had a classic vehicle to tool around the city. I imagine I never drove it on long hauls, meaning more than one hour of sustained driving. It suited me well. In the spring, of ‘66, I decided to return to Florida. My belongings consisted of a suitcase and a couple of cardboard boxes. Also aboard was some groceries mostly a large bunch of bananas, some bread and peanut butter. I set off in the evening hoping to get far in the cool air.
The first leg, took me down the New Jersey Turnpike. Getting over the Delaware River bridge was a problem. As my car was trying to make the climb, it backfired repeatedly and was losing power. By the time we crested, it almost came to a stop. Coasting, down the other side, I pulled into a truck stop, rested the car, had a cup of coffee and pondered my situation. After an hour or so, I ventured off again. To my amazement, the car tooled along fine. However, before reaching Washington, it again resumed backfiring and sending flames up out the carburetor. Pulling into a Chevrolet garage, the problem was diagnosed as defective valve keepers. It turned out that the guy who rebuilt my engine installed the keepers upside down. This caused my valves to not seal when the engine reached high temperature. Apparently my short hauls in New York City did not expose this problem. Not able to spend $350,they wanted for a repair, I took the alternative solution. The mechanic suggested that on my drive to Florida, I could make it if after every hour of driving, I pulled off for an hour to let the engine cool down. Not having money for lodging, it seemed a workable solution and proceeded south in fits and starts.
I had to keep an eye out for suitable pulling over places. Through rural Virginia and North Carolina, this did not seem a problem. Somewhere in the northern part of North Carolina, I pulled over at a picnic area, grabbed one of my bunches of bananas, climbed into a spreading tree that had an extended branch that provided a shady sitting and resting place. I was up in the tree enjoying my break when a small convey of military vehicles entered the parking area, for what looked like a smoke break. Soon a contingent of soldiers dismounted, light up, stretched their legs and otherwise took a breather. Suddenly one of the troop noticed me sitting up in the tree. They began to get large enjoyment having spotted this new species of primate, that most likely lived in the wilds of the Carolinas and enjoyed sitting in trees eating fruit. I went along with their merriment, by mimicking a monkey, by scratching my armpits, howling and jumping up and down on my perch. Shortly, they had to remount and take off likely to resume training for the mounting Viet Nam action. I likewise, climbed down, and grateful for the light hearted break resumed my journey.

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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.