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

Friday, May 2, 2008

Searching for a concert, September 1975: Boise, ID

I awoke to a brilliant Sunday morning. The air was gloriously dry, a welcome change to the constant moisture I dwelled in for the past couple of weeks. First thing, before hitting the road, I decided to get rid of my plastic tube tent that I had marinated in during this spell. I felt like dry fall weather was ahead of me and I wanted to expose myself to fresh air for sleeping. Finding a suitable place to dispose of this piece of plastic, I got underway still early in the day. I was quickly offered a ride by several youngsters who may have been kin to the group who left me off the previous night. This crew was on a desperate search to find a music concert that was being broadcast by a radio station from Spokane WA. They had spent the whole previous day driving around eastern Washington listening to what seemed to be every current popular artist performing live but not finding the location of their concert. They seemed intent on attending this festival and it seemed like a good day to roam around this high plateau country listening to good concert music.
There seemed to be no clue broadcast about the location of this concert, but I got a hint when the announcer billed it as “The Concert of the Mind,” and later on as a “Fantasy Concert.” Despite my pointing this out, my hosts were intent upon keeping up their search and hopes of finding these performers in person. We kept driving until we arrived at a brink overlooking Moscow, Idaho. Everyone was taken by a sign that announced Moscow was one mile straight below but tens miles away by switchback road that descended the escarpment. After we made our way down, my ride intendedto cross over into Oregon and continue their search for a nonexistent in real-time concert. Since I was headed southeasterly, I departed their company. We wished each other a good one. They headed west and I followed the Snake River canyon toward Boise.
I was let off in the middle of Boise late in the evening. There seemed to be no quiet dark space to spread out my ground cloth and be dead to the world. Walking about, I approached a sizeable bridge. Having had experience staying in a “Bridge Hotel,” I was familiar with the space and shelter provided below, I scurried down the incline and climbed underneath into the darkness. I felt my foot land on something that moved away and heard a voice exclaim, “There is no room here. Go to the other side. Git out of here.” Not at all feeling welcomed, I climbed back up, crossed over and found a nice spot on the other bank. It was sometime in the middle of the night I was awakened by what I most dreaded sleeping out in the open.
A blinding light and voice roused me. The voice asked, “What are you doing here, time to get up.” Coming to my senses I was confronted by fears of who was facing me and the thought that a weapon may be pointed at me. When the voice asked, “ Let’s see some ID.” I was relieved that it was likely an officer of the law who was stirring me. I still wonder if the person may be a nervous sort who may have a finger on the trigger. As slowly as I could, I fumbled for my wallet and produced an ID. As I handled it over, the light was lowered, and I could see two cops watching me. After finding I was not a wanted person, one asked, “Why don’t you go to the Rescue Mission? It’s just down the street. They take care of guys like you. It may be dangerous sleeping under here.” I politely answered, “Thanks for your concern, but I do not need to be rescued and except for you guys, I have not been bothered down here.” With that I asked, “Is it all right now that you have checked me out that I stay here?” In unison the replied, “Suit yourself and take care.” I did not go back to sleep but found some wood to make a small fire to heat some water for oatmeal and coffee breakfast.


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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.