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

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Getting ready to take another trip. October, 1990: Martha's Vineyard, MA

As soon as I got back from Europe, I began preparing for a move to Atlanta. Joe had preceded me to his home. A phone call confirmed that he had been picked up at the airport and was currently receiving medical treatment for his ailments. He sounded slightly better than when I left him on a plane finishing the final leg from our return from Europe. He expressed gratitude when I offered to come down and assist him. He owned several rental properties and maintenance and management of them was considerable. I figured his compromised health would make it difficult for him to keep up with all his duties as landlord. Remembering his recent weakened condition while we traveled in Europe made me feel it expeditious to get to Atlanta as soon as possible. He assured me that he was in a better state than when I saw last saw him and I could take my time getting there.
Apparently he was responding well to medications and I could use some time preparing to move temporally to Atlanta. I was not certain how long I would be away, but the preponderance of AIDS cases worldwide made the outlook gloomy. Furthermore, it seemed once opportunistic infections set in, the time line to the end was not long. But for now it seemed I could afford to gather myself together and not rush off unprepared. I had a wife, daughter and house that would be left behind and arrangements needed to be addressed how they would manage while I was away. Fortunately, our house had no mortgage and only expenses were food and utilities. Amelia had just turned seven and was in second grade. That left Sara enough time to work part-time to cover expenses. I had a little savings to support me while I moved to Atlanta. One snag occurred when Sara’s car “shit the bed.’ That was an expression used to describe a situation that was totally broken down.
Even though that phrase is plenty graphic, I never completely understood its significance until such event happened to me. Many years later after undergoing brain surgery, I was moved to a recovery room and instructed how to call for a nurse when I needed a bedpan. The first time that need arose, I was late ringing and the nurse was slow in responding. Consequently, I let loose a bed load of shit. As I lay there covered in it, I thought, “Hmm, covered in shit and a healing open wound on my head; this cannot be good.” No matter, a nurse showed up and quickly assured me this happens, was normal, cleaned me up, changed my linens, and tucked me back in. So even shitting the bed is not critical. I decided to leave my vehicle for Sara to use and make my first trip by plane. That cut down on the items I would be carrying.
Since it was not critical that I leave immediately, I could visit friends and stock up on spiritual sustenance to carry me through difficult, tedious, and sometimes seemingly unrewarding work. I found Lenny. He had finished carving his totem pole and was now painting a large mural on the side of a fish market. He offered me small work helping him and large encouragement to press ahead with my plan to assist my brother. Many of my friends, most of whom I joined in fellowship in AA, were likewise supporting of my mission. It felt that my financial and spiritual houses were in order so I could make this journey to fulfill a promise to myself.

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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.