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 14, 2008

Separation bonus, February, 1975: New Orleans, LA

Settling matters with the US Army occurred with typical military efficiency. As soon as I showed up on base, I was driven to a barrack that housed others who similar to me had resisted the call to engage in war making. We were provided a place to stay while we were processed through procedural tasks. Two elements stood out. First, when I asked each fellow where he had spent the duration, the most common answer was, “I just went home.” I was surprised about the lack of tracking down other resistors. Secondly, I was overwhelmed by the numbers. According to a tally kept on a blackboard, at that point almost two hundred thousand people were processed through the amnesty program. This figure likely reflected, only those who were applying for readmittance and repatriation. No doubt countless others were not choosing the same course.
The last procedure we faced was filling out paperwork that would provide us with twenty five dollars gratuity pay and a plane ticket home. For many of us, home was indefinable. It was explained that their offer was to return each of us to the precise location where we entered service. For me, that was New York City and that most definitely was not home. At one point a sergeant produced a form that made a request for a travel voucher. He stated, “At the top write the location where you want to go.” Taking him at his word and not wanting to travel to New York, I wrote, “Hawaii.” After he gathered all the forms and left, he hurried back in and asked in a command voice. “Who is the asshole, who thinks he’s going to Hawaii?“ I quickly volunteered it was me. Calming down, he asked, “Where did you enter the service?” I answered truthfully, “New York.” He replied, “That’s where your going then,” and scratched out Hawaii and wrote in New York. It looked like I was headed to staying in northern winter.
Soon a busload of us were headed to Indianapolis airport with a vouchers and money in hand. Another fellow also had a ticket for New York and like me was not interested in traveling there. At the ticket counter we inquired whether we could exchange our vouchers for other destinations with like fares. We were told we could. Unfortunately, Hawaii was not even close in fare, but New Orleans was. Soon Chuck and I were boarding a jumbo jet for the sunny south. Chuck was in a celebratory mood and took advantage of the airlines complimentary booze. He drank up his allotment then requested and got mine. By the time we landed in New Orleans it was 7:00 AM and Chuck was well lit up. Our seating companion informed us it was the beginning of Mardi Gras and offered us a ride to the French Quarter, the focus of the celebrations. We accepted and soon we were let out at Jackson Square. Chuck wanted to go into the nearest bar and resume his intake of alcohol. I left to followed my own path. Later, I discovered I was carrying his portfolio of paperwork. The next several days proved fruitless in finding him. Luckily, his father’s address was inside and I forwarded the parcel to him.


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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.