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, August 25, 2008

Doing Roosters Again. May 1978, Pettigrew, Arkansas

I only waited until the next morning to get back to slaughtering my roosters. This time, when I got them before dark, I bound their feet together before I placed them in a cardboard box. The rest of the procedure resembled the day before up to the point of taking the box of roosters to the chopping block. Now when I reached inside to grab the first victim, the rest were quiet and it seemed they were submitting to their fate. The task was accomplished with out raucous incident.
It was relatively quick to separate each bird from his head with a sudden short rap from a sharpened hatchet. Soon all birds were hanging from their feet, bleeding from the wound on their necks where a head used to be. Cleaning them seemed more of a task. This part I found distasteful. Removing their innards released a strong smell that could not be washed from my mind even after cleaning up and storing all these chickens in a freezer. Even several days later when we decided to cook a chicken, the memory of that smell returned. That made it impossible for me to partake in eating chickens I had butchered. No one else at the meal suffered the same and were able to enjoy chicken dinner. I began to doubt that I could make it raising and killing my own chickens.
One other occasion called me to do in some chickens. A neighbor who I had provided other roosters to asked would I be willing to butcher them. Having just had this experience I agreed. I was to dispatch them but did not have to do the butchering. Tana agreed to handle that messy part. All went well as I sent a few more roosters toward the dinner table. The only snag developed as I was coming to the end of the task. Tana also wanted me to remove one of the older roosters from her flock. This bird had finally given up top roost to a younger bird who was rising in the ranks..
Two roosters are one more than is needed to maintain peace in a chicken coop. It seems there will be unceasing struggle for top spot both in roosting place and being first in line to service hens. Tana made her choice who this would be and it was left to me to finish the culling process. She had helped me bind this tough old bird’s legs. After I had completed my task with the young roosters, I grabbed the elder one and tried to dispatch him with the same quick motion that was successful with younger boys. With him it only delivered a bad cut on his neck and turned him into a furious adult male in short order. We now engaged in battle and I had to become more forceful to complete the job. A blow delivered with greater impact completed the job.
The energy surrounding this event did not feel appropriate for giving honor to birds who were submitting their lives to provide us food. I decided to withdraw from the meat business and stick to hens who could provide eggs. I still had a source for roosters. I only restored these to health and sent them out into the community. I felt I had no taste to conduct killing and butchering.


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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.