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

Monday, May 19, 2008

Welcome to America, April,1975: Detroit, MI

Before we could get our gear together and head up the Interstate ramp, a car pulled over and the driver signaled us to climb in. Esperanza chose the rear seat, I joined Michael in front. He was a recent immigrant to this country from Greece and was returning to his new home in Detroit. He had visited relatives in South Bend and was interested in driving the side roads on his way back. Since none of us were familiar with this neck of the woods we all became tourists for the day without a guide. Most of the countryside was farmland, with many small diners and food stands. We stopped many times for coffee and conversation. Besides exploring the country side we explored each other’s stories.
Michael had come over to join immigrant relatives. He was a factory worker, who had left a wife and two daughters behind, until he could afford to bring them over. Many of his compatriots would split up families while the intricacies of immigration were worked out. He was also acutely interested in the waves of hitchhikers he noticed traveling around this country. We were not the first he had carried. This was an experience he had not seen in his country. I suppose he had not visited Northern Europe recently as the wave of modern day pilgrims was also awash there. Having him question us, gave us opportunity to reflect and understand the nature of our own journeys. I experienced mine as an unfolding that could best be summed by the title of a popular hit tune, “On the Road to Find Out.” Esperanza concurred and we welcomed Michael as part of the story.
He was also taken by the fact that we were traveling together without being committed partners. It seemed strange to him that the nature of our commitment lasted only as long as our journey. He was also puzzled about the nature of any sexual relationship we may have. He approached this subject by asking me about Esperanza’s availability for sex. I guessed that in his culture, matters of this sort were handled by the males. He was quite surprised that I brought her into the discussion and pointed out that here woman can speak for themselves. I stood aside and supported Esperanza as she turned down his offers. He accepted her rejection and our time together was comfortable enough that when we arrived at his home late that night we accepted his offer of floor space to sleep on.
His apartment was barely furnished. Michael was overly apologetic about the lack of amenities. His first furnishing was an excellent music system. Besides having a good radio and the beginnings of a cassette tape collection his belongings consisted of a single bed, a coffee table, no chairs, but he did have an automobile. He did have a set of dishes and cooking utensils that he displayed while graciously preparing and serving us fine example of Greek cooking. He apologized for the lack of beds, but we assured him that sleeping on his carpeted floor indoors was much better than cold damp ground. We arose early and Michael dropped us off at the entry ramp for the bridge to Windsor, Ontario on his way to work. In parting we welcomed Michael to our country and walked toward Canada before the sun arose.


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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.