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 13, 2008

Mushroom picking, March, 1975: Gainesville, FL

Having gotten to Gainesville, I remembered Richard’s advice about the Mushrooms available there. In his words, “ They grow in cow shit, are totally free and really get you off.” I had since heard them referred to as “Magic Mushrooms.” I was ready to find out. Bearing in mind that some mushrooms are highly toxic and quickly fatal, I proceeded cautiously. Not knowing where to begin, I heeded the first piece of information about their growing medium. Since Gainesville is surrounded by cow pastures, it did not seem important which direction I headed. Being on the southwest side of town, pointed me in the direction of Williston. No sooner had I gotten headed west on Williston road, than a couple of teenage boys from Michigan stopped for me. When I informed them of my mission, they divulged they were headed out to pick some mushrooms and invited me along. They became my teachers of mushroom identification.
Several miles out of town, we pulled over next to a wooded area. I saw no signs of pasture, but followed the lead down a path through the woods. After several hundred feet, we emerged into a broad fenced area filled with scores of cows, one bull and many armadillos. At first glance there was no sign of mushrooms. Here my tutors explained their choice of location. A parked car was a dead giveaway that someone was about the business of roaming the fields in search of mushrooms. Some folks were bothered by strangers roaming around their fields in search of anything called magic. Without an owner’s permission, being out in their fields may mean trespassing. Hence it seemed better to conduct these searches unawares. Since the owners did not seem to care about their mushrooms and we were not going to disturb there animals or harm their property, it seemed innocuous that we trespassed to gather a few mushrooms.
It did not take too long before some mushrooms of the variety psilocybin cubensis showed themselves. The first identifying feature was a small bluish ring about the stem. Any piece of the mushroom would also turn blue when bruised. Their caps had a slight reddish color at the center proceeding from a pale white rim. The mixture of colors would deepen as the mushroom aged. Over the next weeks, I gleaned abundant knowledge of mushroom culture, by examining them from baby sprouts no bigger than the lead of a pencil up to a large cap of several inches in diameter bending over from its own weight. Richard‘s advice was correct; they did grow in cow shit, were free and the experience gained from ingesting them was good. There was also an attendant magic aura surrounding them.In their company a certain feeling of protection emanated. Spending hours walking silently in the company of cows, armadillos, and snakes while conducting a search added a spiritual component. Ingesting mushrooms provided an opening to further exploration into spiritual realms. Having gathered a few samples, we headed back to town. Along the way, we searched the broad avenue of parting salutations. “Have a good day,” seemed limited and not inclusive enough, especially for those intent on not having an pleasant day. After rumination we parted ways exchanging the phrase, “Have a good One.” In this case, “One” could be anything that the recipient of the wish wanted. My mushroom gathering adventure became a “Good One.”

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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.