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 23, 2008

It's not here. May, 1975: Homestead, FL

Just before Key West are several large Keys that seem relatively isolated and unpopulated. In contrast Key West is packed with humanity. It took us a while to find a place to secure our car. Finally we did, and Eddie went about conducting his business. I strolled around taking in the atmosphere. We planned to meet up at Sunset Pier and join the daily revelry attending end of day. The air reeked of legacies of artists and pirates. There seemed to be looming creative robbery. Before I caught up with Eddie, some thugs had caught up with him. He had been strong armed and relieved of all his money and possessions. He managed to hang onto his cars keys. We decided to leave immediately. Our dilemma was we had not enough money for gas. We met a young couple, Steve and Amy, who where headed to Tennessee. They offered to help with gas for a ride. We offered them a lift to Gainesville and a place to stay for the night.
Next, we picked up Buster. He was hitching with a towel wrapped around him. Once aboard, it was obvious the towel and his wallet was all he had. He had be relieved of his pack while swimming. Luckily, he managed to stash his wallet and towel separately. He was intent upon leaving the Keys right away and none of us minded having a naked man riding in the back seat. Buster was a loose cannon. Just past Big Pine Key we boarded Seven Mile bridge. This two lane highway offers no place to pull over or turn around. Unbeknownst to me, Buster climbed out the rear window and onto the roof. When I first noticed him, he was descending onto the hood. I felt any sudden change in movement might eject him onto the roadway. So, I maintained speed and steadiness while he practiced being a hood ornament. A police car passed in the other direction. I could tell by the look on the policeman’s face, we better retrieve our naked life size decoration. Fortunately, the cop would not be able to turn around and pursue us until he got off the bridge. As soon as I could, I pulled over and got Buster back in his seat. He seemed pleased with himself. Since he had no destination nor dress, I figured there might be a remnant of clothing for the taking at Grassy Key and headed there.
We arrived at the beach at the tale end of a drinking party. Hawk was the center of attention. His claim to fame was opening coconuts by using only his mouth. He loved showing how he could strip the husks with his bare teeth and throw us the nut. He already provided us with a few. He soon realized he had to go home and get ready for work, Home and work for him was Homestead Air Force Base. He got into his car and pealed out. He went speedily up the sandy, rutted and bumpy road full of turns. He did not make the first turn, but ended up front end down into a large ditch. He gunned the engine several times trying to extract himself, but only managed to spin the tires off his rear wheels. He got anxious about not being able to get to work.. Apparently his behavior was causing him problems and one more night of missing his duty station would land him in trouble. We were headed his direction so added one more to our party of wayward souls escaping the Keys. We got him home with time to spare. He offered to let us stay in his apartment for the night. A small military barrack seemed better than an even smaller car at the mercy of ravenous Everglades mosquitoes. We all settled onto the living room floor, grateful to have escaped with our persons intact.


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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.