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

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Thar's landslides in them thar hills. July, 1975: Slocan, BC

Our band awoke pretty sore from the effects of yesterday’s labors. Consensus was that we should not return to work that offered measly wages. Especially those who had managed to not earn any pay were adamant about not returning to work and instead head off to some other amusement. Sue enticed Michel to drive us to her cabin, not too distant, over a narrow two lane paved highway. At Fauquier, we had to ferry across a long slender lake that extends 250 KM from Revelstoke to Castlegar. We were amused at signs posted in two languages at the ferry warning of the possibility of tidal waves caused by landslides crashing into the lake anywhere along its length. We mused it would be as appropriate to post signs many places in many languages warning of the possible effects of our sun entering supernova. We made it to Sue’s cabin without incident or disaster.

After showing us around her property, Sue decided to continue the journey with Michel and his band. She seemed headed out for an indeterminate length of time and extended me the opportunity to stay at her cabin. She even provided a letter of introduction to her husband, should he arrive back from New York. I was slightly disappointed to not have any company as Alison decided to return to her boyfriend’s house a few miles up the road. I was consoled by the beautiful setting I was to enjoy for the next few weeks. The vistas were incredible, the garden was producing, hens were laying more than a dozen eggs a day, the pantry was stocked and a deal had been worked with a neighbor to exchange extra eggs for fresh milk. There was even a stock of toilet paper in the outhouse. Even lacking company, it seemed I may have entered a heavenly abode. Shortly Sue headed out and I walked Alison to her home and met Lance who was in charge of erecting a homespun community center. He extended an offer to come over at any time and engage in the neighborhood project.

It was a blessing to be able to stay for a time in a place where all my physical needs were accounted for. I even had a supply of tobacco to make possible that habit. There was a supply of interesting books. While here I perused “The Tibetan Book of the Dead” and “ I Ching’” I found a stash of coins and threw a hexagram producing 8. Pi / Holding Together [union]. These books provided me with much to contemplate. Additionally, the surroundings inspired two artistic projects, one of which is yet to be completed. But much creative energy was imparted that I was able to export with me. For the next ten days, I was afforded the opportunity to have a mostly solitary retreat, interspersed with small workings on the community center. This was most certainly a "Mountain High."

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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.