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, May 6, 2008

But a new party is beginning, February, 1975: Jupiter, FL

After a brief stop in Gainesville to visit family, I hurried over to the east coast, headed to the Keys. In Fort Pierce, I met Jeff who had hitched all the way from California. He was headed to Miami, so we joined together. We both enjoyed traveling on the slow road, in this case highway A1A, which meandered through all the towns on the east coast of Florida. It was quite dark when we were let out in Jupiter at a lonely intersection. Besides a traffic light there was only piles of construction materials and the beginnings of a bank building. We headed over to a stack of plywood and sat down to ponder our next move. Jeff pulled out a small envelope of marijuana and asked, “Wanna smoke one?” “Well, certainly,” was my answer. Just as he finished twisting up a joint, another car stopped at the light and let out its passenger. Mike walked over to us, reached into his shirt pocket and whipped out a joint of his own and questioned, “ You guys wanna get stoned?” Again, I replied, “Well, certainly.“ Jeff showed the join the had just rolled, both were lit up and passed around our small circle.
Just as we finished, a police cruiser pulled up and the officer motioned us to come over and be checked out. Jeff and Mike walked over, I waited to gather myself together before facing an Officer of the Law. Before I got up, Jeff came back and stated, “Get your pack, we’re going to the station.” “What for?” I asked. Jeff replied, “Mike got busted for the stash he was carrying in his shirt pocket. We are taken in to be searched.” I gathered my pack and joined the other two in the back of the cop car. I wondered what to do with the small packet of good gold grass I had in my front pants pocket. When we got to the station, our escort put Jeff and I into a waiting room and went to another part of the station to book Mike. He instructed,, “Hold tight, when I get done, I will come back and search you guys.” We were left alone for what seemed a half hour. I came to a solution about the small amount I was holding. I slid open a filing cabinet and placed my stash inside.
Shortly, the Man returned and quickly pat searched our pockets but not our packs. Finding nothing, he informed us we would be taken back to the highway and warned us to be careful about who we traveled with on our journey. To the side, he warned me about my traveling buddy. Jeff was a highly decorated Viet Nam veteran who was awarded a citation for bravery in close quarter hand to hand combat. The policeman's concern was that as a Viet Nam era deserter, I might be at risk to incur Jeff’s wrath. I felt no such concern since Jeff and I had already shared our war stories. Another officer arrived to transport us back to the side of the road. As we got dumped off and settled on the curb, Jeff mentioned, “You can’t imagine the butterflies I feel in my stomach.” I just looked at him quizzically. “Take this pack over behind that sign and twist us up one; I need it,” he motioned to a sign away from the road. I took his pack, walked away and when I felt hidden, opened it up. It was crammed full of marijuana. I quickly rolled up a joint and returned to Jeff. He smiled, adding, “Can you believe, I walked into a police station carrying all that, got searched, then released and given a ride back here? I really need to smoke one now.” We got further blitzed as we sat on the curb watching the late night bar patrons making their way home.
After a few minutes, another police car pulled up. Again we were summoned to come over and be checked out. Feeling cocky and knowing that he would quickly find from our ID’s that we had already been searched in the station, I asked, “What would happen if instead of producing an ID, I told you that I was a secret agent and could not show you any identification?” Before he could answer, his radio crackled, “There is a 10-30 [ or some such number code] at the Holiday Inn.” Before answering my question he slammed his car into gear and zoomed away. Apparently whatever was happening at the Holiday Inn was of more import than two stoned hippies slumming on the side of the road. We quickly came to the conclusion that we may be pressing our luck and should likely get out of sight. Nearby was a bridge and we climbed beneath it and found dry level ground to retire for the night. In the morning when I arose, Jeff had already departed. I headed for the beach.


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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.