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 28, 2008

Getting ready to head north, May, 1975: Gainesville, FL

It took most of the day to hitch a ride from Homestead to Gainesville. Paul had arrived before me. Now we just had to await Eddie’s arrival. He did not get back that day. The whole trip to the Keys had been a disaster for us. Eddie bore the brunt. He was mugged in Key West, jailed in Clewiston, lost his car in the Everglades. By the time he got back the next morning, another piece of hard luck beset him. By hitching, he was able to get as far as Orlando. There he decided to catch a bus. While waiting in the station, he was approached with an offer to buy some drugs. He followed the seller outside and was promptly set upon by thugs who beat him and took the rest of his money. It was good to welcome Eddie home, little worse for the wear. The remainder of money, we had left from my stash of Canadian bills, went to provide Eddie with a cheerful night out.
By this time, I was feeling the pull to head to New England. My folks had moved there while I was out of the country and I had never visited their new home. I was now ready to venture for the first time to coastal Massachusetts. They had moved to Martha’s Vineyard. Before that, I was not aware of inhabitable islands anywhere off the Northeast coast. My only previous excursion through New England happened in the summer of 1969. Susan and I had taken a trip to Quebec to celebrate friend’s marriage and also our coming first wedding anniversary. We spent the better part of a week in Montreal, Quebec City and were returning home through the countryside. We made our way down through the White Mountains of New Hampshire. It was the second Sunday in August. News was coming over the radio about a giant music festival bogged down in the Pocono Mountains in New York State. We were unaware that any concert had been scheduled to take place this weekend.
The announcements suggested no one else try to make their way to this concert. Two days of rain only dampened the crowds, but did not want to make them leave. Apparently traffic was snarled by additional folks wanting to take part in “three days of fun and music, and nothing but fun and music,” as Max Yasgur announced to the throngs camping on his farm in Woodstock, New York. Despite the appeal to stay away, I felt an urge to head right over. Susan, perhaps a bit more grounded could not wait to return to our apartment in Douglaston, Queens, New York City. I had to settle for listening to the music recorded there. But I did not miss the launch of the cultural revolution that Woodstock symbolized. Returning home, I was greeted by a letter that announced, “Greetings, you have been selected to report for military duty.”-- a draft notice. Now a little more than five years later, I was planning on returning to my parent’s new home for a sort of homecoming. In the meantime, I had to find a suitable cord to bind my only belongings, a silk lined bedroll, before heading north.


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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.