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, July 12, 2008

Getting back home. October, 1990: Martha's Vineyard, MA

The last few days had been grueling for Joe. He seemed mostly in a lot of pain, that only analgesic pain killers would alleviate. He contacted his Medical Doctor, who would begin treatment regime once he returned home. Joe was hopeful the right medication would restore his vitality. Now all we had to do was get to Brussels, board a plane that flew directly to Atlanta after a stop in Boston. The drive from Paris to Brussels seemed to point out Joe’s condition. Three weeks of touring Europe by automobile was taking its toll. Being cramped in a small vehicle was not pleasant for Joe as relief looked as if he needed to lie down. Curled up in the back seat wasn’t sufficient. I began to worry about our being allowed to board a transatlantic flight. I doubted that an airline would want to be responsible for someone in his condition who may lapse into crisis halfway through the flight.
I was beginning to think of the commitment I made to myself to provide care and assistance for him as he faced onset of full blown AIDS. Our flight continued on to Atlanta after stopping over in Boston, where Karen and I deplaned. I inquired might it be possible to purchase the last leg of that trip so I could accompany Joe home. The only way the airlines would allow that was to forfeit my current ticket and purchase a new one. They were not willing to add onto my already booked itinerary. Since buying a ticket on the day of flight was expensively prohibitive, I decided not to accompany Joe home, but return to my home, gather my belongings and drive to Atlanta. After getting to Brussels we booked a hotel and prepared for our flight next morning. As was increasingly happening Joe, stayed in our rooms while Karen and I explored and enjoyed our last night of European adventure.
No amount of walking or sightseeing would alleviate my anxiety about the morning’s boarding procedure. I could not help but entertain the notions of what options we may face should the airlines refuse to board Joe. Karen helped with my concerns by becoming an active listener and assuring me that whatever we had to do she would take a working role and not just board the plane and return home. We managed to get a good nights rest. In the morning we prepared for our flight. Luckily, Joe had a good handle of how his medications worked. We wanted to get enough pain meds into him so that he would not appear in medical crises, but we also did not want to overdue it so that he appeared completely trashed. Joe knew exactly when to pop a pill so that while not in pain, he was also alert and could answer questions. We managed to board without difficulty.
Once aboard, fortune gave us a nod and a wink. Because our flight had contracted to carry a large load of parcels and mail, passenger space was limited. As a result the whole rear section was unoccupied. Once settled in our seats, we were allowed to move Joe to the back and use a row of five seats to create a makeshift bed. Joe looked like he enjoyed a restful flight back and slept most of the way. Joe even stayed in his bed when Karen and I disembarked. We hugged and wished him a good flight. I was impressed how much the scene had reversed from our entry onto a similar plane three weeks earlier when Joe greeted us exuberantly and welcomed us on our trip to Europe.


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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.