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

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Paradise continues, March, 1975: Crawl Key, FL

For the next several days, we continued to live in Peace and Harmony. There were comings and goings. We did not have many road worthy legal vehicles. That meant most transporting was accomplished by hiking. However, we managed. Fish, date and coconut palms seemed to provide for us adequately supplemented by assorted bounty that showed up. I took to beginning each day sawing open a coconut, serving the meat and milk, then carving the shell into a covered container. Mangrove branches provided more material for carving. From these issued walking sticks, pipes, and assorted beads. Some folks worked with string and twine which were in abundance from abandoned fishing gear. Macramé arts flourished. We produced assorted trinkets which we traded and gifted to one another. A Viet Nam Vet who had an artificial leg was presented with a walking stick I carved. It had a hollow center and doubled as a pipe. He asked to have carved on it “New Jerusalem.‘ I obliged. It was easy to believe we were the beginning of a new model for cooperative living.
We enjoyed good relations with the police. Every day around noon a Sheriff’s Department cruiser would pull up to our main fire pit. The genial officers aboard would engage in pleasant conversation and take in what they could see about our living situation. At first we were not engaging in any activity that would cause concern. However, due to the open nature of our community, several unsavory types climbed aboard. We did not want to be unwelcoming, but accepted all comers. Stories of unpleasant encounters in town started to filter back. It seemed to be setting the framework for our undoing. No one among us felt called to police anyone’s behavior, so we continued our community experiment in hopes that good behavior would outshine the bad. Some even brought forth the idea that what we were partaking in what was only a small part of a Grander Design. Our main focus still centered on becoming a sharing, caring, loving group of people.
One evening a large gathering assembled and musical instruments were brought out. We enjoyed a lengthy celebration of song and dance. At its pinnacle, everyone joined in a rousing rendition of “Amazing Grace.” Before we finished several police vehicles pulled up and a raid commenced. Most of us scurried away. Two were apprehended, Paul, who called himself John the Evangelist, was nabbed right off and Mickey who had a crippled leg and could not join the rest of us in running away. Apparently, Paul had a record and outstanding warrants. His behavior in town stood out and he was traced to our community. Mickey was released the next day and brought back the story of Paul’s arrest and his criminal background. There was also talk of a bigger raid to unearth any more folks we might be harboring. This raised fears that many did not want to confront. Terry left with Jennifer and Candy for Zephyrhills.
Karen showed me an alternative location down the road, across the street on Crawl Key. We walked over and found back in the forest several abandoned shelters. These were obviously the remnants of an older community. Huts were made of bamboo, thatch, and salvaged lumber. They were quite charming and offered shelter from sun and rain and had raised sleeping platforms. We met a couple living in one shelter who had been there quite a while. They informed us we were what we saw was left over from an artist’s colony that failed but left intact their structures. They said it was OK I took over one of the lodgings. Karen had already been ensconced in another. I set about house making and gathering belongings and what was left from the good spirit that had been scattered during that police raid. From across the road, I could witness the demise of Paradise.


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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.