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

Thursday, June 12, 2008

It's time to leave, December,1974: Niagara on the Lake, Ontario

I first planned to leave on December 1, 1974. I gave notice to the folks whose house I was restoring and offered to help them find a replacement. They cajoled quite a bit to get me to stay on longer. I acquiesced and agreed to extend my employment until the New Year. They continued to pry at me to extend even further. I was having trouble staying firm. On New Year’s Eve my monthly pay arrived and I hurried to the bank to cash it. Otherwise I would have no money to go out and celebrate the new year. I got to the bank just as thy locked the door. Customers inside were able to finish their business. No amount of pleading succeeded in gaining me entrance when a customer exited. I had to leave with my check still in hand.
I went back home dejected I would not be able to go out and party. I decided to spend the small change I had at a grocery store. It looked pretty dim when all I could do for New Years was buy a little stew meat for my ongoing simmering feast. Coming out of the store I met Rosie. She was quite young and after listening to my dilemma invited me to join a party with her friends. I jumped at the opportunity. We drove to Saint Catherine’s and joined with a bunch, younger than I by several years. It did not matter, they liked to welcome in the New Year with the same sort of revelry as I was accustomed. At the end of the evening I offered Rosie a ride home. On the way she disclosed her distress.
She had just that day come from Toronto where she underwent an abortion. She did not want to return to her boyfriend’s apartment. Apparently, they were not together on the decision to end their pregnancy. I offered to let her stay in the house I was working on until things cooled down. For a couple of days she rested there until her boyfriend came and retrieved her. I t seemed they would patch up their difficulties. As a token of gratitude, Rosie left me a large Ruby set in a silver ring. At the same time, the family employing me continued with their efforts to get me to change my mind and stay on. I had already moved into my truck,, but was having trouble completing the break. I told them I would go away for the weekend and have an answer upon my return.
Monday as I drove up, Neil, the family spokesman stood at the doorway. He asked me if I had any idea what went on here that weekend. I wasn’t there and had no idea. He informed me that when they arrived a young girl named Rose and her boyfriend Ron were in the house in the midst of conducting some sort of Satanic rituals. Dog feces was spread about the whole house and graffiti was scrawled everywhere. They had been taken away by the police. When first questioned, this young couple claimed I gave them permission to enter. The fact that they gained entrance by breaking the front door exonerated me. However, Neil finally announced that, “ It is probably best that we break our work relationship now.” I agreed, saddened by the circumstances that brought about our dissolution. He reiterated their offer to let me keep my stuff in their basement and invited me back after my travels were finished. He indicated, there may even be more work for me after the current fiasco settles. I thanked him and after checking that my belongings I was leaving behind were secure, I mounted my van and headed off to Kingston, Ontario to discern my direction. I felt a slight discomfort in the finger sporting a Ruby ring that had previously been Rosie’s.

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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.