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

Monday, July 28, 2008

OK, I'll go. March 1976: Saint Petersburg, FL

In November, I was in Toronto, Ontario. A friend offered me a ticket to the Rolling Thunder Revue. Although, this concert featured many of my favorite artists and performers, I turned down the offer. I am not sure why, but perhaps, I planned to leave town before the performances. Christmas was spent on Martha’s Vineyard, hardly a venue for performances of this caliber. I reckoned I would just miss my opportunity to see my favorite poet, Bob Dylan. After Christmas, I left to visit a friend in Milford, Connecticut on my way to Florida. In the short time I was there another offer came my way.
Again, I was asked to attend Rolling Thunder Revue. Again I was looking toward my next location and did not want to hold back until this concert came to town. Shortly I left for Florida with mixed feelings. Part of me was in a hurry to get to Florida, another part was mourning the missed opportunity to enjoy my some of my favorite artists. It did not seem many more chances would come by again. After getting to Gainesville, my focus soon became joining with and engaging in the building of Free Spirit Farm, an alternative life style community. It took my mind of anything I may have missed. Now I was visiting with Stacy and Tallulah in Bradenton, Florida. The offer was repeated. These two wonderful women invited John and I to attend Rolling Thunder Revue in Saint Petersburg. I was not going to miss it again and decided to extend my visit until after the show left.
Since we had over a week to wait, it provided time to get acquainted with John. We had just met when he hooked up with Stacy. John was the first individual I knew who was tortured and suffered with alcohol abuse. There were certainly others I may have known but not intimately enough to observe the extent of suffering. John, although only currently using moderately had a history of treatments , hospitalizations and legal problems. He now seemed clear of all that. All of us went out occasionally to find music and dance. This often led us to bars. John would imbibe, but seemed able to hold it. Whatever demons had haunted him in the past seemed under control.
The night of the concert arrived and we were going to a big dance. We all sat together for the first half. I was finally getting to enjoy Rolling Thunder. At intermission, John left us to wander about. For the remainder of the concert he was absent. We were concerned, but figured he was a big boy and could take care of himself. After the concert let out, we still had no John. We returned to our car and waited his arrival. Shortly an plain clothes policeman approached and asked if John was with us. Apparently he had come out to the car during the concert, He raised suspicion of the security guards who checked him out. When it was found that he had outstanding warrants, he was taken to lockup.
We returned home perplexed and alarmed by this turn of events. Stacy posted bail and John returned to our fold. He seemed in good spirits and downplayed the significance of his legal problems. We were still basking in the high created by seeing Bob Dylan and company. What was not too obvious was John was beginning to slightly increase his alcohol consumption. We did not catch on that his attitude was ever so slightly eroding. It was a shock to us all that whatever was eating him up was hidden. On evening John swam out into the Gulf of Mexico and did not return . His body was recovered miles away a few days later. Not understand what had happened to him, Tallulah, Stacy and I swore off alcohol. We did not understand but felt it prudent to not chase the demons that were after John.


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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.