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

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Is it a dog?. March 1976, Free Spirit Farm, Gainesville, FL

It was just a year ago that I spent most of my time out in the cow pastures searching for mushrooms. This year, I was spending the bulk of my time in the garden. I hoped to leave mushroom picking to others. Michael expressed interest, so, I agreed to go out and help him identify the appropriate variety. We went out to the same pastures I visited the year before. Crossing through a familiar field, we came across a cow laying down.
As we approached we noticed a small calf lying near the cow’s head, sort of whimpering. Then we noticed the calf had an umbilicus attached. Apparently it had crawled to its mother’s mouth to have it chewed off, only to find its mother asleep. After examining the mother, we determined she passed away. We quickly discerned that we should tie off the cord and get the baby ready for transport. It was obviously still new and needed parental help. After assuring ourselves the mother had indeed passed we adopted the calf and carried it home, much like a human baby.
It evidently needed attention and nursing. We had no cows at the farm and we determined that store bought milk would not suffice. A neighbor who raised cows gave us a supply of milk. He had no interest in taking our cow as he did not have the time to attend to it the way we were able. We started feeding our adopted calf from a bottle. We all took turns being mother. Rather quickly our calf showed signs of survival. It was still small, the size of our dogs. It also took to playing with them. Soon it enjoyed robust health and growth. By the time he got bigger than our dogs, we figured out it was a he. We had brought home a baby bull. Except by now he thought of himself as canine.
He would come in and out of the house like the rest of the pack and chased around the yard just like he was a dog. Soon we came to the realization this dog had hoofs. So when he jumped up on person or furniture, the results were different than a dog playing. We found we had raised a bull with the mind of a young puppy. His saving grace was he did not have teeth. Our utmost concern was how could we turn this beast back into a bull. We had no appropriate teachers. He was also getting to the size that dog training techniques would not be effective. We so much wanted to keep him, but his rapid growth was making us think differently. It took some time, but we found the farm from whence he came. After convincing the owner we were not cattle thieves, he became willing to take back his rustled calf who had been raised as a dog. Years later we even found out he fathered calves and none of them barked.


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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.