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

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Is that you, Lenny? May, 1992: Martha's Vineyard, MA

Is that you Lenny? May, 1992: Martha’s Vineyard, MA
After finally getting Joe’s estate cleaned up enough that mother could manage the rentals and eventual sale, I loaded up one final truck load and moved back to Martha’s Vineyard. There I had my own house that needed finishing work. I was also called to the cutting and splitting of over nine cords of firewood I gleaned the previous summer after Hurricane Bob whirled through and felled an enormous quantity of trees. Right after that, Lenny helped me to gather much of the wood. That was while he was recovering from surgery to remove his larynx and beginning treatment of cancer in his the throat. I looked forward to seeing him and other friends while I was settling back on the Vineyard.
I ran into Rick who shocked me with some disturbing news. Lenny was having a recurrence of his cancer. It spread to his lungs, other internal organs and likely his bones. His prognosis was not good. Lenny never had a home of his own, but was now ensconced in Jenny’s parent’s home. It had been left to Jenny and David and was not otherwise being used. It provided Lenny with a beautiful setting overlooking the lagoon where he could conduct his passing. It also made available ample space for him to receive visitors and well wishers. I rushed over. I was greeted by a crowd of friends. A meal was being prepared and despite the somber occasion a festive atmosphere was present. Lenny appeared gaunt but displayed his ever present beam and joyous spirit. He embraced and welcomed me.
Lenny’s many friends rotated providing his care. Except late at night, when usually a single person would stay with him, Lenny had a house full of people attending to him. He spent the past twenty years ministering to alcoholics and other unfortunates on the streets. Even though Lenny attended an established church his comforting of others was a personal calling. The brace of people attending to him mostly came from the throngs he touched while conducting his ministry. In a sense even though we were caring for him, there was still an impression of Lenny conducting his office.
The liveliness in the air likely sprung from Lenny’s decision to not take pain killers. Though he was probably feeling lots of pain, he preferred to be alert and stated he wanted to fully attend and be present for his sendoff. He managed his pain with warm baths, massage, and meditation. That kept the gleam in his eyes and provided an enduring example of accepting and playing the cards that were dealt you. Lenny was open to discussing his present situation and held nothing back about his feeling s and beliefs regarding the realm he was heading toward.
I believe that everybody in attendance was blessed to experience the events that transpired as the veil separating this world from the next got closer and thinner. There seemed to be the supernatural afoot.


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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.