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

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

A fish out of water. November, 1990: Atlanta, GA

After several days gathering together, I left for Atlanta. I was flying, which I had not intended; I hoped to bring my truck and some tools, enabling me to look for work. That wasn’t going to happen yet. Our landing in Atlanta offered a portend of the journey ahead. After circling for a considerable time, our pilot announced we were cleared for landing and made our approach. The whole flight had been bumpy, but we were coming down. Just as we touched down heavily, the pilot gunned the engines and we were airborne again. He announced that another plane had ventured out onto our runway, making it necessary to climb back up to avoid collision. He assured us we had enough fuel to come back round. The cabin was hushed until we finally touched down and stayed there. A round of applause greeted our arrival.
Joe met me and carried me back to his house. He was glad to be home, driving his own vehicle and feeling much better. It was good to see him in such high spirits after witnessing his lengthy excruciating bout with pain during our adventure in Europe. He expressed gratitude, I came to help him and assured me he had plenty of work I could perform for him on his properties. Though there was plenty of work, getting an income was a different matter. I found it almost impossible to land outside jobs without benefit of local references. This forced me to use other sources to supplement my no income. It seemed I would be dipping into savings to finance the beginning of this adventure. Luckily, my expenses were minimal. I had no rent, Joe provided food and not having my vehicle meant I avoided those costs. Also I had no expenses to carry back at my home on Martha’s Vineyard. It seemed I would go forward on a much different scale than I expected.
The next eye opener was getting used to the tough neighborhood where I would be living. Joe explained he had ongoing difficulties keeping his streets clear of hookers and drug dealers. He was not adverse to calling police to run people off his streets. He assumed possesion of streets in his neighborhood and wanted them clean. One night we heard a ruckus outside. As it moved away, shots erupted. Soon sirens emerged and we discovered someone had fallen in a pit near one of Joe’s other properties. The victim was not fatally wounded but the side of Joe’s house was a bloody mess. The tenant living there joined in helping us clean up the disarray while police and EMS crew took care of the shooting victim. Apparently gunfire was commonplace in this neighborhood. A few days later, while mowing the grass in the space where we first heard the commotion, the mower struck something that gave a metallic sound as flung against the house. I went over and found it was a chromed pistol. Luckily it had not fired while hurling around.
To top it all off, Joe appeared to be getting better and not approaching his death
bed. He held to the notion that somehow a cure would be found for his aliment. There was plenty of evidence this would not be the case. Joe was surrounded by a sizeable community of AIDS victims and many had already succumbed. He was on the list of patients who received services. Two well prepared, nutritious, hot meals a day were delivered to him. Joe hardly ate any and offered them to me. When I asked him why he did not eat, his response was, “It is hard to have an appetite when you do not feel good.” Apparently his medications were masking much of his discomfort. As well as he seemed at the time, I reaffirmed my decision to stay with him to help with his incredible journey. It seemed I would simply have to adjust to this bumpy landing.


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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.