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 24, 2008

Sweetest town in Florida?, May,1975: Clewiston, FL

As we awoke in the morning, Hawk retuned from his overnight duty. He had the makings for a fine breakfast courtesy of Uncle Sam. Afterwards he needed sleep and we needed to get underway. Straight out the gate of Homestead Air Force Base is US 27. We could follow it right up the middle of the state to Gainesville. I drove Eddie’s car. He rode shotgun, Buster, Steve and Amy sitting in the rear. It was a blistery day right off. We were thirsty and the car was running hot. We stopped twice to get liquid refreshment. We entered Clewiston under a large billboard that advertised it as, ‘Te Sweetest Town in Florida.“ By this time, the car needed a drink also. I pulled into a gas station, hoping to get some water for the radiator. As I came to a stop, the rear door opened and Buster jumped out, dressed the same as yesterday when he acted as our hood ornament. He approached, fully unclothed, three men who looked to be working there. He blurted out, “Do you have any water?” They looked at him astonishingly and spoke to one another in Spanish. I quickly shepherded Buster back into the car and drove away without getting any water.
Not only did the car need cooling down, but so did we. I felt it prudent that we take a break. So, I drove a few blocks to a park on Lake Okeechobee. We cooled off for a while and got Buster back into some pants. It turned out that he had taken off his and thrown them out the window. I gave him mine, while I wore a long shirt sort of like a kaftan. After it seemed like everything that was boiling over, cooled off, I headed back to the highway. As soon, as we turned onto US 27, we were boxed in by three patrol cars and ushered to the side. A Clewiston police officer walked up to me and blurted, “We had a report that someone, from a car matching this one was streaking.” I pointed out to him we all had clothes on. He nodded and asked me to produce a license. It knew it was in my wallet back on top of the fridge in Gainesville. Not wanting to appear that I deliberately left home without it, I offered the excuse, “My license is somewhere in my pants, that I lost while at a beach in the Keys.” I showed him my only apparel that looked a dress. I did not want to expose that Buster had my pants, which would have implicated him as a possible streaking suspect.
I was arrested for driving without a license. Eddie as owner, was arrested for letting me drive his vehicle as such. It turned out Amy was a minor, and was detained pending notification to her parents. Eddied gave his car keys to Steve and Buster on the promise they would go to Miami and find some bail money. I thought that a fat chance and the officers escorting us to jail thought that not a good idea, but told Eddie they could not prevent him from giving up his car to essentially strangers. It seemed both Buster and Steve had licenses to drive. In the jailhouse, I was given a pair of dungarees and one phone call. I called back to Gainesville and asked Paul to send my wallet containing my license and my stash of Canadian money. He said he would bring it by nightfall. I had a court date at 7:00 PM and hoped he would arrive in time. Our only cell mate was a local who had been arrested several times for a similar charge--operating without a license. As a habitual offender, he was facing a several month sentence. Clearly, I did not want to be his roommate for that long.
As court time approached, Paul was no where in sight. I was getting anxious that I might be staying in Clewiston for a bit. Our cellmate was a the first case and received six month sentence with a threat that any further occurrence would be felonious. Just as that case was disposed, Paul walked in and handed me my wallet. The judge asked me what had I been handed. I showed him my license. Upon, reading my charges, he decided he had to let me go. Apparently, the arresting officer , had charged me with not having a license, which I just produced. The judge admonished him that the correct charge should have been Failure to produce a license. Eddie was let go, since he too, could not be charged with aiding and abetting a non criminal.
As we were leaving the courtroom, our arresting officer warned us to not be in his town when he got out of court. He was obviously perturbed and had to stay there for several more cases. It was dark as we got onto the street. Even though we had a quantity of money, there was no way to get it exchanged. We figured the chances of three guys, hitching together, getting out of town were slim. We pondered how to break up and go searching for Eddie’s car. Out of the blue, a car pulled up and offered us all a ride. We escaped. The driver, hearing our story did not think heading into Miami would be fruitful in our search. We went with him to Homestead and spent the rest of the night walking around, hanging out in diners, and pondering our next move. We considered it might mean abandoning Eddie’s car and returning home without it.


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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.