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 1, 2008

Continuing to catch up on this journey. June, 2008: Allentown, PA

Last night, I stayed with a friend, Wilson, in Allentown. I visited here and posted a journal entry on February 15. Coming back provides opportunity to reflect on this journey and obtain bearings. I just read the journal entry I posted then. At that point, I was just beginning to go forth not sure where I was headed. Part of the entry for that day states, “During our life span we are endlessly choosing a route, engaging, disengaging, losing our way, pausing, reflecting, changing course, and finding new beginnings, all the while praying and hoping we are not met head on with disaster.” That pretty well sums up my past 4 months. Last night I was heading this way, driving in drenching rain and thunderstorms. I certainly was praying and hoping, I would not meet disaster. I was also slightly lost because I was approaching Allentown at least fifty miles north of where I expected to be. Consequently, I was driving in the dark over unfamiliar roads at a much slower pace than is normally comfortable.
I did arrive safely and was warmly welcomed. It seems appropriate that Providence gets me here at a time when I am choosing to reflect on my journey and its significance. When last here, my journal posting alluded to the allegorical and metaphorical nature of my travels. When I left, I did not have certain heading, but a sense, I would eventually get to Ithaca New York. I also stated my goal was to not take a job but work with the purpose of developing a habit of writing on a daily basis. It took over a month to land in Ithaca. I have been successful at not landing a job, but have worked steadily to keep up with my scribing goal. Posting these gleanings and having contact with several readers who have been with me on this journey provides a means of accountability. It seems though, I may have landed a job--I seem to have fulfilled a long term goal to be a writer. That mostly certainly connotes an occupation. The job description is just so unfamiliar, it crept up on me that I may have joined that circle of authors. Writers dominate the crowd I merged into as I settled into residence in Ithaca. I feel small confirmation that, have arrived at a destination I began heading to over thirty years ago.
If this journey indeed circles back to the time, when choices I made are being fulfilled, then the potential for much greater significance exists. I get the sense that paths seem to have a way of unfolding once we pick a destination. Often on the way, we may lose track of where we are headed, but nevertheless proceed onward based on our initial footstep. I remember, as I commenced viewing life’s journey as Spiritual Path over thirty five years ago, hearing the phrase, “The longest journey begins with a single step.” Encompassing my passage in an expansive time frame, reduces many of my choices and goals into minor supporting roles. In the moment, almost anything can take on the appearance of major consequence, when in fact it may be only a diminutive particle of small impact. I hope this can give me the perspective that whenever, I experience “Carpe Diem,” I do not let it overwhelm me.
With this in mind, I choose to continue my daily writing, and view all other projects as support of that goal. My hope is that this task becomes habit and requires less sustained effort. Then, I hope to expand my writings beyond what I post on a daily basis. Perhaps in a slight way, I feel less need to have occupation as essence of my self. I recognize my goals but they no longer provide my identity. I guess I will just continue writing and see want happens. I also remember an artist’s lesson about separating our art from its outcome. With all this in mind, I will head out today to visit another writer friend who tomorrow undergoes bypass surgery. If this post seems a little rambling, I reserve to right to edit it in the future.


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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.