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

Friday, June 27, 2008

Tale of two Ducks. January 1976: Gainesville, FL

At our farm we had two steady visitors--both ducks. One was a wild bird who visited every day to help our barnyard birds with their eating chores. The duck, chickens, a rooster, guinea hens, and a turkey were responsible for cleaning up the food we scattered around for them. They seemed to have learned the secret for peaceful coexistence. Except for one instance when the bantam rooster felt an urge to become a fighting cock, it was peaceful and not too noisy. Duck hung around all day and availed himself of the puddles and shade that were created around our outdoor shower. In hot weather, showers were in use constantly. So the duck had lots of company splashing in refreshing water. Since a steady stream of humans headed for a shower, he never had to learn to turn it on.
At the end of day, duck established a ritual that we partook in . As sun was setting, he would perch on top of the shower structure and watch light disappear. There was usually a compliment of humans making a like ceremony. As the last sunlight was gone, duck would launch into flight. He was a hefty bird and seemed almost like a plane taking off, making loud swishing sounds with his wings as he ascended. He flew the length of our field before veering off to the left and disappearing much like the sun had. If you arose early, you would catch him coming back just before sun returned the next morning. Apparently he had a steady piece of work and took it seriously.
Our other duck was of the human variety. It was not his given name, but one he assumed. He never told why he choose that label, but we accepted him. He dropped by regularly to help in our garden. He seemed quite knowledgeable about local growing environment and taught us much about achieving optimal growing conditions. Duck was a young black man whose family lived on a nearby farm. I visited with him there and his family also went along with his choice of name. I never learned his given name. But I could see where he got his green thumb. His family had a thriving farm that produced enough for their needs and a bounty for trade and sharing. On my way out, his mother loaded me down with a bag of fresh produce and several pounds of fresh bacon.
Duck had a unwavering mission about resisting any call to become a licensed member of society. He refused to accept anything that required him to register for and receive a government issued ID. His family supported that notion and had not even gotten him a Social Security Number as a youngster. In fact they may have all been unregistered. The price he had to pay was several arrests for driving without a license. He was well known in the local court and would cheerfully do his time. It was only when his sentence approached six months at a time, did he figure that if he was not going to be a licensed member of this society then perhaps he should also not be a driving member either. While one duck was taking to flying, this Duck was taking to walking and hitching. I never checked if our other duck had an ID or flying license.


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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.