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, June 23, 2008

Finding roots, June 2008: Hudson, MA,

For me, settling down and staying put is possibly as frightening as living a wandering, unsettled, unattached daily life is to those accustomed to a routine life style. Even though I was perched on Martha’s Vineyard for several years, bought property, built a house, married and had a child, it never felt home. I managed to obtain several dear friends, but always felt a twinge of separation when they would state how at home they felt in our community. Home was never a value that landed in my heart. The many years I spent there were filled with longing to move on and explore beyond. Beginning last summer, some powerful force seemed to be drawing me to the Finger Lakes area of New York. My years of living on the road gave me a special sensitivity to intuitive nudges. I learned to follow them and believe they are a good guiding force.
Following an urge, I moved most of my possessions into a storage unit near Ithaca last fall. I left my temporary Pennsylvania residence in early February for an extended road trip with no apparent destination. Sure, I was aware the bulk of my belongings were stored in the Finger Lakes region of New York, but was uncertain that would be my final destination. It took over six weeks of meandering to land in Ithaca. Rather quickly, I responded to an inclination to rest here for a bit. It felt a bit unusual to be vacationing in a vehicle in the midst of winter in upstate New York. But I soon found, I was not alone. Others were roosting in harsh winter conditions, but seemed to manage. Several times, when meeting folks, I would be asked, “What brings you to Ithaca?” My answer was mostly to shrug my shoulders and say, “I don’t know. I just got here.” An affirmative response was often, “I had the same experience several years ago and I am still here.” It seemed comforting that others had followed similar leadings and were still here apparently thriving.
After a few days camping in my car, I decided to treat myself to a room. I became roommates with two others in a house on South Hill in Ithaca. Next I landed in a volunteering position with a group providing meals to anyone who was hungry. This felt appropriate and fit with my leanings of how we should be treating each other. It also had a benefit of introducing me to a larger community of like minded folks. Shortly other opportunities for engaging in helpful rewarding works sprang up. These offered me the chance to explore out from Ithaca and find other things that may provide pull for me to be here.
I found a wealth of abandoned rundown structures all around this area. A long time dream of mine was to obtain such a place and restore it to useful accommodation. I feel like a kid in a candy store with so many locations that would fill that desire. I hesitate to move quickly in that direction lest I settle into the wrong spot. Recently, I decided to stay here for a year and observe which of these gems is moving toward me. In the meantime, it seems I am expanding my connection with this community and that feels good. I am not sure what home would feel like, but for possibly the first time, I am not experiencing consideration to move on.


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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.