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

Sunday, June 8, 2008

A close call?, July, 1975: Schenectady, NY

After spending the night camped in woods alongside the New York Thruway, I awoke to find there were over a dozen other travelers sharing that space with me. There was a bustle in the air as folks were gathering their gear to prepare for hitting the road. Obviously there would be a preponderance of hikers vying for rides. Besides, we would be joining the parade of folks headed to work making rush hour madness. These did not make for the best of conditions in which to be begging a ride. Most on the road at this hour were only going short distance to a job and they usually were in a rush to get to that place they would rather not be. Those of us in a rush to not get to a job not in control of this market. I decided to tarry around the camp site and leave last. My hope was that by the time I got ready to leave, many of the others would already been lifted away.
When I ventured out to the road way, I was greeted by the sight of probably more folks than shared our campsite stretched out along the roadside thumbing rides. Individually or in groups of two or three, it seemed no one had been successful in flagging down a lift. Custom was in such situation to walk to the end, placing yourself last in the long line of people headed away. Realizing you were last item on the shelf to be viewed did not promote a positive feeling that you could escape. Stories circulated that groups sometimes were stranded in obscure places for days. I could see why. Begging a ride while exhibiting a negative bearing was usually not a success. There were signs that attitude was descending here. Pessimistic remarks and disgruntled looks predominated. Not wanting to sink to that level, I just kept walking. The end of the line seemed a least a mile away from where it began. When I got there, stopping and thumb did not feel worthwhile. I continued walking. It was a good day for a hike.
It was quite awhile before a car pulled over unbidden. Jeff offered me a short ride to Schenectady. He also offered to provide me with a lunch. Seeing it was near noon and I had not even had a cup of coffee, I accepted his offer. On the way to his house, he disclosed he was a professor at a nearby university. He claimed he was in the midst of a research project on human sexuality. He made it sound intellectually interesting. After preparing a meal he let on his other motive. He wanted to have sex with me. So, “this is the nature of his studies.” I thought. I was not interested in having sex with a man, but, I was curious about how he would make his approach. I had nothing to compare it with except the female approach. As it turned out,, he was more direct, He exposed his huge erection. That did nothing for me. I felt a tinge of concern that I may be trapped.
I have no experience in retreating in such situations. My exposure to wild animals, taught me to not show fear. Somehow, I was able to extricate myself from this uncomfortable situation and ask to be permitted to get back to my journey. Jeff readily agreed to give me a lift back to the highway. He also acted hurt I had not accepted his offer. He made comment that indicated he was certain I was missing a good thing. It took little time to gather together and hit the road. After being let off, I pondered the vulnerability of people who choose a vagabond lifestyle. I also felt gratitude I did not become a statistic of homicidal predatory behaviors. I began to realize there may be some force hovering over me offering protection though I walk through the valley of shadows.


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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.