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, August 21, 2008

Birds of another color. January 1978, Saint Paul, Arkansas

It took about a week to prepare for the next batch of chickens. We began by opening the door to our largest shed and discovering an ammonia cloud so thick the opposite end of the structure was not visible. The first matter was to raise the shades and ventilate the building. As soon as we could breath, we began hauling out the foot or so of straw soaked with chicken excrement. For next two days we pitched the laden straw onto a wagon. Ed was recovering enough so that he could help with this back breaking work. He still lacked fine motor skills but had a strong back and adequate arms and legs. .
Once a wagon was loaded we drove it out into the fields and hooked up the manure spreading component and went to town flinging chicken shit far as we could. The faster we drove the tractor, the further out it was broadcast. This provided pleasant relief from excruciating tedium of pitch forking it off the floor.
Finally the floors were cleaned and a layer of fresh straw put down. The rest of the procedure was similar to the last time. Only now, Ed was able to work more as an equal partner, and I had a better idea of what needed attention. It seemed that after another batch or two of chickens, Ed would be able ot manage without a hired hand. I had learned enough of this business to not want to invest my future raising chickens commercially. The soon to arrive batch held a surprise.
The same as last time, a converted school bus showed up loaded with sixty thousand hatchings. As they were unloaded , it looked pretty much the same. Small white little peepers huddled under heaters. It was only by being told was I to find out these Cornish Hens were of the male sex. The supplier was able to sex the eggs in the fertilization process. Experience showed that separating the sexes made for less problems in raising birds for meat production. By nine weeks, at slaughter either sex came out as hen. This batch, in fact, consisted of roosters.
Same as last batch, I was able to save the lame birds by taking them home to my chicken rehabilitation clinic. It would be a awhile before I learned the differences about raising juvenile male birds as opposed to good strong laying hens. By now, Ed appreciated the fact that I was taking the birds and relieving him from the responsibly of being their executioner. Now he only had to put birds who succumbed naturally down the pipes to his composting tanks. Back at my coop, the tranquility established by a settled batch of hens was about to be broken by introduction of a gang of adolescent boys.


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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.