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

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Let's get out of here. May, 1975: Homestead, FL

I suppose we were lucky meeting a couple of guys in Homestead who had heard about a vehicle like ours. It had been abandoned in barren swampland between Everglades National Park and the Florida Keys. Even though it was still in the dark of night, they offered to take us to it and we accepted. Before heading to the car, they took us to a quarry on man made canals facing lower Biscayne Bay. Just for fun, they showed us an example of phosphorescence common in south Florida waters. They whipped out a pistol and shot several times down into the lagoon. The bullets left glowing trails all the way to the bottom. It was a bit unnerving to be in the company of armed strangers, who happened to know the whereabouts of our vehicle and had met Steve and Buster. It was difficult to figure were we in the company of accomplices or adversaries. As it got lighter they put their weapon away, we got back in their ride and headed to Eddie’s car. It was not too far off the highway, but hidden from sight.
Upon examination, we determined Steve and Buster were never successful in getting a drink of water for the car. The radiator was bone dry and the engine had seized. It was not worth fixing. Eddie found a mechanic who would take it off our hands at no charge. It was nearly the end of the day when we were ready to head back to Northern Florida. But first we met Marilyn. She brought us to her house in Homestead and treated us to fine dinner. She had quite spacious quarters and had separate bedrooms for each of us. After a gentle evening listening to and playing music we retired in sumptuous luxury. I do not remember getting any sexual favors, but I do remember being woken a couple of times and seeing Marilyn bending over astride my chest with a long straw in her mouth that had just blown something up my nose. Whatever it was, blasted me into alertness . She would laugh, hop off and scurry to one of the other bedrooms.
Sometime, that night I had an incredibly vivid dream. In it, I was awakened by a brilliant flash of light. As I sat up to see what it was, I heard the sound of the Big Bang at the end of the world. I dreamed I witnessed a nuclear explosion out my window in the direction of the Air Force Base. Needless to say, it was a fitful sleep. Whatever her motive, our gracious hostess prepared us an excellent cooked breakfast and drove us to the highway. We were in a hurry to get back to Gainesville and decided it would be expeditious to separate. We split into equal shares the remainder of my Canadian bills. Then we drew lots to see who would thumb first. Paul got a ride quickly; Eddie was next; I got picked up last. But my ride was a good one; it took me all the way to Gainesville.


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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.