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

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Lost in the city. August 1991: Toronto, ON

For a break, Amelia and I traveled to Toronto to pick up Natalie who was just moving to Montreal. She was going to attend university there and needed help moving her belongings. My pickup would be useful and the trip a diversion. This was Amelia’s first trip out of the States and she was excited. Growing up on Martha’s Vineyard meant she was not used to many things common in big cities. She had taken trips to New York an Boston, but never overnight. We would be staying a few days in Toronto and Montreal as we helped Natalie move. Natalie also needed a new bed so we shopped for a futon. For moving convenience and economy we decided upon getting lumber for the frame and buying the mattress in Montreal.
After getting lumber, we needed some screws, sandpaper and wood finish. We stopped at a large hardware store adjacent to a mall that had just opened as we arrived. The items we needed were on the second floor. Amelia asked could she stay on the first floor in the toy section while Natalie and I browsed upstairs. Thinking we would be quick, I allowed her to stay downstairs provided she did not leave the store. She agreed. It did not take too long to make our purchases. But in that time Amelia disappeared. A quick look around the store brought no results .A clerk stated he thought he saw her leave through the door that led into the mall. We exited that way and began our search for a missing child.
Even though the mall had just opened and was fairly empty, did not help. Amelia was nowhere to be seen. We were joined n our search by two security guards. One escorted Natalie around the premises searching while I joined the other in a room full of television monitors that scanned the mall and its parking garages. I kept my eyes on the screens while the guard made announcements over the PA system asking Amelia to use one of the red security phones located throughout the mall to call her dad who was missing her. For what seemed too long a time, I stood watching Natalie accompanied by a guard searching fruitlessly for Amelia. It did not help that a recent newspaper story detailed the abduction of a young boy and subsequent finding of his body in Lake Ontario.
Finally, I asked the security guard who persisted making announcements, whether or not his announcements were broadcast into individual stores or just common mall space. He indicated he was only heard in the corridors. Having an idea I went in search of Amelia in the individual stores. At the far end of the mall was a large department store that was sure to have a large toy section. Entering , I found directions and made it to a large display of stuffed animals. There in front was Amelia with her head tilted back taking in the sight of a display that reached to the ceiling. I sidled up to her and asked in a low voice, “Little Girl, do you know that you are missing?” She did not know, but was found. Upon questioning, Amelia let on that she thought as long as she had not went outdoors she was staying in the store as she was instructed. Grateful to have her retrieved, I made a better effort to keep an eye on her while we were away. We still had to negotiate another large city, one where most folks did not use English.


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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.