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

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Helping and healing. February 1976: Free Spirit Farm

My year on the road prompted me to engage with many sorts of folks in a non judgmental way. I accepted fairly readily people as they were and traveled with them. It landed me in small trouble when my companions intruded on other people’s lifestyle. It happened when I brought John to my sister’s house. At first she readily accepted him and let us camp out in her sitting room. After we got ready for bed, it became apparent John’s feet had a large disagreeable odor. Even after bathing they smelled foul. I was able to sleep, but in the morning Karen asked us to leave. She could not abide the smell. We left and I brought John to Free Spirit Farm.
On the way, John described the nature of his problems. In his youth he spent several years on a chain gang in a southern state. For much of this time he worked in standing in swamp water. He picked up some kind of skin fungus that persisted to this day. To make matters worse, because of his shame he kept his feet tightly wrapped up in socks and heavy footwear. That way whenever they were exposed they let off a tremendous smell of rotting flesh. The folks at the farm took on the project of helping John deal with his problem. We had plenty of experience taking in animals that needed help. If it could work with them, we could probably aid humans.
The first thing we did, was make a rule that John go barefooted. To help him overcome his shame at exposing his feet, we took turns washing them. This helped alleviate the problem. Removing dead skin through bathing and exposing his feet to light and air restored his confidence and he walked about with much higher head. It turned out John had even been too ashamed to seek public aid. He resorted to begging and living off of trash. Whatever his crimes, it seemed wrong John had to still pay by living his burdened life style. As much as keeping his feet exposed raised him up, it did not take care of the lesions that persisted on his soles. It was obvious that he would need medical attention. As much as we desired living away from society, Gail took it upon herself to guide John through Public Welfare system and get him needed medical aid. After a few weeks we helped John with bus fare so he could return to his family home. Apparently he had not been there for years. It seemed the free spirit at our farm commune guided us to helping the stranger.



Karen said...

Isn't it interesting how differently we remember the same story? As I recall, you found John sleeping in a telephone booth at a convenience store in the middle of the night and offered him a place to stay in my home. In the morning, when I discovered a stranger sleeping in my home I asked you to take him somewhere else. While I maintained an open-door welcoming for you in my home, I did not share your enthusiasm for the random stranger--the smell of his feet was incidental. "Free-spirit" was, after all, your journey, not mine. You recall my response as judgmental. I recall it as protective (I had two small children), feeling intruded upon, and taken for granted--as your version of this vignette confirms. --Karen

Baba Rob said...

Hey Sis,
Glad to see your're checking upon my story. I did not find your response judgmental, but reasonable. As I recall your even offered us some breakfast. That was gratious. I remember we left without hassle. I appreciated the fact we did not have to travel across town late at night. I am sorry for intruding in your house.--Rob

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.