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 10, 2008

We're only looking for a place to park. October, 1990 Monaco

Joe was feeling like we should move on. He wanted to see Paris and we had less than a week left. Before leaving Monaco, I decided we should drive up and see the castle. Climbing the hill that went into the old part of town where the castle is located, I missed a sign announcing cars without permits were prohibited entry. We ambled on until we reached the plaza in front of the royal residence. It looked splendid bedecked in black flowers for the state funeral of Stefano Casiraghi, Princess Caroline’s husband. Karen wanted to get some pictures, so we let her out with instructions to stay within sight of this spot while we drove out, reentered, and picked her up on our way back through. She agreed, jumped out and we drove off.
We followed the one-way path back to the entrance. Before we got there we were pulled over by police. They politely informed us that we were not allowed to have our vehicle in this area. Since we were tourists they were forgiving and allowed us to drive out. We continued on to the spot where I saw the sign I missed upon entry. Since we still had to retreive Karen, I decided to reenter with our vehicle and drive back and get her. As we were making our way through the narrow streets, a police vehicle fell in line behind us. Before, we got to the plaza we were pulled over again. Luckily, it was different cops than last time. These ones weren’t so friendly and ordered us directly to leave. They warned us they could be arrest us, but would not provided we drove straight out. To ensure our compliance, they would follow us. I obeyed and crossed the plaza where Karen was waiting for us.
Noticeing us, Karen gave a big wave and set up to take our picture. The police behind us were not understanding about her need to record our adventure. They honked and motioned for us to move along. While Karen was still trying to line up a picture, we scooted away. Once outside the gate, I parked and walked back into Centre Ville to find my sister. No luck, I could not find her, so I returned to our vehicle. There I found Joe being held over the trunk while two officers searched our belongings. I protested that we were looking for our sister. The officers were only concerned about security and informed us that they had already escorted Karen off the hill. We were told we could pick her up on the street that leads down to the harbor. It was also suggested that once we found her we leave Monaco unless we wanted to spend a night in jail. I believed they were serious and after picking up Karen headed directly into France. Karen did get a nice shot of me leaning out the driver’s window with a frantic look about me. Behind me was a police car, with two officers looking impatient.


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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.