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, May 21, 2008

Back to Florida quickly, April, 1975: Gainesville, FL

It was still April and weather was not settled into warm yet. At Niagara Falls, we enjoyed breakfast overlooking the falls. Before walking across the border, we strolled along the walkway overlooking the Horseshoe Falls. A family-- dad, mom and two kids, sauntered just ahead of us. On their matching jackets was an American flag emblem and company logo. We overheard the man tell his wife,” Honey, you know why I like coming over to the Canadian side of the falls? Well, it’s because you can see the American side from over here.” It seemed a strange perspective, but we were getting ready to cross over the Rainbow Bridge and get the perspective of seeing both sides at once. At the middle is a boundary marker with a national plaque on each side. For a few moments we stood in the middle, held hands and contemplated being in two places at once. The view from there was spectacular.
Coming north, I carried little. In Toronto, I unburdened the load of mushrooms, I had shipped up. For the return trip, I was packing a guitar, I had retrieved from Liz’s house. Besides that , I had a pocket full of colorful Canadian money. I separated from Esperanza in Buffalo. She was headed to Philadelphia, I wanted to hurry directly to Florida. Around noon, I left Buffalo west toward somewhere in Ohio where I could meet up with Interstate 75 headed south. My driver told me he picked me up because he saw my guitar. He asked me what type of music I played. My answer, “I don’t play much; I just fool around a bit.” In truth, I had only begun learning. A previous roommate, had taught be some basic chords for common folk songs. I was not at all accomplished on even those yet. That and I only retrieved it after not practicing for four months. I was quickly berated, “You must never say “fool around’ with a musical instrument. They are much too important to treat so lightly. I hope you take care of it while on the road. It needs better care than a baby.” It turned out my benefactor played Flamenco Guitar in the Cleveland Symphony Orchestra. He let me out where Interstate 77 heads south. I promised to take good care of my baby and was sure, I would never again slip by saying, “I only fool around a bit.”
Immediately, I was picked up by Bob. He was headed to California. He was in the same kind of hurry to get there as I was to get to Florida. He had come to retrieve a car his grandmother had left him in her will. He did not like Ohio spring weather. He showed me his boot . The heel swung aside and revealed a hidden carrying place. Here he kept his stash of speed that he planned to use to keep awake for his whole drive. After walking around spring mud, his boots got soaked and the Dexedrine pills turned into mush. He showed how he to scoop a dose out with a finger and lick it off. He offered me some, but speed was not to my liking. But, I offered to share a hash oil joint that I found hidden in my wallet. By the time we finished it, we had arrived in Dayton, Ohio. Here we parted ways. I to head south on I-75, he heading west on I-70. He gave me his address should I ever want to come to California.
Right away, Dave pulled over in an old Volkswagen Beetle. He had the look of a focused race car driver, Both hands on the wheel, head slightly bent forward, eyes peering straight ahead and shoulders hunched in a bit. He was in a race to get to Florida. He had a week off for his job and wanted as much time in the warm weather as he could squeeze in. He did not want to spend much of that time driving. I offered to share the driving and we proceeded ahead, stopping only for fuel, coffee and snacks. Before sunrise the next morning, I was deposited in Gainesville. My elapsed time from Buffalo to Gainesville was 19 hours. I could not have made better time had I had a car traveling alone. It seems the roads were filled with drivers with a purpose.


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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.