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

Monday, May 12, 2008

Back to the world, March, 1975: Naples, FL

Several folks were hitting the road in the morning. It takes some creative hitching to flag a ride, when there are many folks lined up singly, in pairs or small groups. It seemed to be an unwritten code that newcomers took their place at the end of the line. So whoever had been out the longest was the first to present a thumb to oncoming traffic. My technique was to walk past the end of the line and just keep walking. Once I got separated from the crowd, I would hitch on my own. It is difficult to tell how effective was my strategy since I was out of sight from the masses, whom may have gotten rides. But on my own, I never had to stand for hours as I heard tales of being stranded with a whole bunch in a lone outpost.
I was pulled from the side of the road by a couple, Betsy and Ann. They were headed to California, but in no big hurry. They lived in their vehicle but needed to have a residence established as a means to secure SSI disability payments. I was not certain of their disability, but they claimed to not be able to work. Their residence of choice was in Berkley, By their story, they had little over a month to return there for a disability review. As we got underway we noticed a parade of police cars headed back towards Marathon. They bore markings from the FHP (Florida Highway Patrol), FMP (Florida Marine Patrol), and Monroe County Sheriff. I suspected they were headed for a showdown at Grassy Key. As I related the story about the recent demise of Paradise, we offered prayers and good wishes for the folks whom may be in confrontation. Each of us had experience traveling slowly on the East Coast of Florida, so we decided to leave via the West Coast.
We made many stops crossing the Everglades. I even cajoled them into pulling into Everglades National Park which I had visited on my way down. I related the tale of having snuck onto a military base but we were able to restrain ourselves from breaking that barrier. By the time we hit the west coast it was getting dark. We headed to the beach in search of a place to camp. On a long stretch of unnamed shore north of Naples we pulled in for the night. There was just enough light to see the pieces of wood I was gathering for a fire, but not enough light to see what bit my hand when I reached for a piece. Whatever it was delivered a painful sting to my right palm. In minutes my palm swelled up. I was determined to not go to a hospital. I had no insurance or funds to cover emergency costs. My camp mates ministered and nursed me through the night. The swelling continued up my arm to the elbow. The pain slowly turned to numbness. I worried slightly about what would be the consequence should the numbness go past my shoulder. Somehow, I went to sleep and by morning pain dissipated, swelling went down and numbness was replaced by a slight itchy tingle. My diagnosis was that I suffered a scorpion sting. By coincidence or not, both of my traveling companions were Scorpios. Despite an invitation to accompany them to California, I left them in Gainesville. I hoped not to have anymore painful stings.

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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.