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 31, 2008

Up to Joe's final day. January 5, 1991: Atlanta, GA

All during December, Joe was slowly going down hill. He felt so bad at Christmas, he did not even want his close friends to visit him. He confided to me that the most upsetting aspect was that he had no more control over anything. I can only imagine how upsetting this must be for someone who had spent a life time trying to have the most balls in the air. Managing like that takes maximum control and Joe did it well. Now he was faced with no balls in the air and little control over that.
Thursday, the third, Joe went for treatment that consisted of receiving blood. Due to a recent shortage of that precious fluid, he got none and was sent home with instructions to return on Monday. Friday he got to toss his final ball into the air. We went to a furniture rental store and Joe purchased three pieces of used furniture with an overdraft check. He was adept at juggling finances like this by arriving at the bank with funds to cover a check he previously wrote. I think Joe knew he was not going to catch this ball by covering that check. He did admit, he wanted good furniture in his house for guests who attended his memorial service. It would be just like him to feel he was getting something for nothing, or in this case something for a worthless check. Friday afternoon, we received a nice couch and two overstuffed chairs. Joe had fun directing me in their placement. He even got to enjoy a brief sit.
Next morning Joe awoke complaining of weakness and pain. This was the worst I had seen him. Never before was he unable to get out of bed. Our first duty that morning was get him to a hospital. That was also unlike Joe, He did not mind going to his clinic for treatment, but I believe he felt that hospital meant, the process was coming to an end. However, his condition was probably overwhelming his denial. We secured an ambulance ride to Georgia Baptist Hospital, the closest to his house. Mother and I followed and met him in the emergency room. By the time we got there Joe was already beginning toxic delirium. No doubt his system was closing down.
We spent most of that day in the emergency room. It felt like they were expecting him to pass soon and did not want to admit him to a room. Apparently, his clinic withheld that final transfusion because they did not expect him to last till Monday. Their reasoning may have been to not waste blood on someone who was expected to die soon. This notion may have only been conjecture of the emergency room physician, but it disturbed me non the less. I was upset his clinic staff did not inform us they were expecting his passing, but allowed us to be led into hope that he could come back Monday and receive needed blood.
Irregardless, Joe was slipping away. His only contacts regarded his need to urinate. He often asked have me hold hid penis into a bottle. After a bit, he claimed he was finished, but nothing ever evacuated. It came to me maybe he was only using this excuse so that he could be held. Whatever, it worked. He also mentioned a couple of times that he was on the flight deck of an aircraft carrier. It still looked like the emergency room to me. Finally, the hospital relented and allowed Joe to be brought up to a room. It was decided that his comfort was paramount. He was shifted upstairs, mother accompanied him, I went home for some rest. Mother called later and informed me Joe had slipped away peacefully.


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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.