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

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Where did Paradise go?, May 1975, Grassy Key, FL

When I got back to Gainesville, I decided to take a break from trespassing and gathering mushrooms. I felt the pocket full of money I had was tainted. I left it in my wallet on top of the refrigerator and decided to let it cool. The guitar I brought with me went quickly. I borrowed Paul’s bicycle and rode with Cathy to University of Florida campus to watch a film. On the way out, we discovered both bicycles were lifted. I offered Paul my guitar for recompense. I did not want to take it on my journeys and he was already an accomplished player and did not just fool around. He accepted the guitar with thanks. I was curious how Grassy Key was fairing after I left little over a month ago. I still envisioned the abundance of uniformed officials heading down the Keys as I was leaving in March.

Eddie wanted to conduct some business in the Keys and I agreed to accompany him. We left late afternoon and following the same route I had taken two months ago --US AIA from Fort Pierce to Miami. Two events stood out. One, somewhere either in Fort Lauderdale or Hollywood, a fashion store for clergy appeared. It had two story windows fitted with mannequins bedecked in regal splendor. For a moment I envisioned the scene of a Papal fashion show from Felini’s “Roma,” which was taken to be satire. This store was for real and from its looks was doing well. Secondly, when I was at the wheel, a hitchhiker appeared right in downtown Miami. It was late, probably around midnight; so, I pulled over to give a brother a ride. He hopped in the back seat and as I took off asked, “Have you guys, ever done amyl nitrate.” Before I could answer he passed be a small vile containing that powerful stimulant. I took a whiff and kicked my heart and head into high gear. I passed the bottle to Eddie and he did the same. As soon as he finished, our passenger, announced, “ This is where I get off; thanks for the ride.” Eddie handed him his bottle s I pulled over. We drove away wondering, “Are we in some sort of surrealistic movie?” We oressed on toward the Keys. It was the dark hour before dawn when we pulled up to the beach at Grassy Key.

One of the previous crew walked over to check us out. We recognized each other. He stated, “ I was sleeping out in the water. The mosquitoes are too bad to sleep on the shore.” His face and neck, apparently, portions not immersed in water, were covered with welts betraying the remnants of a blood feast. We huddled around till morning in our car. It was safe from the critters but too warm for comfort. Zack, told us how Paradise came to an end. Shortly after I left in March, a huge raid was conducted. After the police swept thru rousting and driving away folks, a contingent of locals stormed thru torching and otherwise destroying the camps. All vehicles became burned out hulks, no structures or lean-tos were left unscathed. He also mentions shooting and hollering. No one was shot, just shots fired into the air. From the sounds of it, a drunken gang was out having their fun. Some folks were still camped way back in the woods, but everyone had to more or less stay invisible. It was OK to be at the beach, just not camp or set up residence. I felt disappointment, that we would not be able to taste the experience that seemed to be fire brushed aside. As soon as it got light, we headed to Key West so Eddie could conduct business. Zack took a ride with us. He heard many of the Grassy Key crowd had scattered about down the keys. He was going on a search.

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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.