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

Friday, August 22, 2008

Raising boy chickens. March 1978, Pettigrew, Arkansas

The same as when I brought hens home, the first matter was getting the new birds weaned off their medications and hormones. Quite a few were sickish and sluggish at first. More than half pulled through, developed appetites and emerged robust chickens. This group shared the coop with hens. All birds we set free during the day and had plenty of room to roam. It was over a half mile to our nearest neighbor and no predators seemed around during the day. Coyotes were present in the evening, but kept distance in the day when humans were about. The hens taught the young boys about returning to the roost before dark, when I would shut them in for the night.
As soon as the chickens got let out in the morning, they would begin scratching the ground driving up insects. They performed a valuable service ridding us of ticks. While the hens generally kept quiet and mostly scoured the underbrush away from the house for food and possible nesting sights, the roosters were more curious and pesky. They came near to the house as they could, and gained entry when they found an opening. Their litter was all over the porch and they constantly had to be chased out of spaces they intruded upon. Even though they were useful in the garden removing insect pests, their scratching dug up far to many tender seedlings.
Next came the development stage when male birds have to work out their pecking order. It seems this is a primal drive insuring that the dominate chicken gets the highest roost farthest away from predators. My roosters had no older male to teach and instruct so they worked this out on their own. Our yard resembled a schoolyard when no teachers or monitors were present. Small skirmishes continually broke out amidst loud clucking and puffed up chest displays. Except for the species, I might have been looking at normal adolescent human male behavior. I did not have juvenile court to produce interventions but was able to keep a handle on my flock by diminishing its size, providing chickens to our community. I had no delusions that my birds were being used as none other than food.
Ed was pretty well recovered and needed my help but little. The few times I went over to assist him, I usually received a bird or two he culled from his chicken factory. It seemed I would need to come to terms with my notion of saving birds. Especially in the case of these roosters, birds I saved were still going to meet their demise by ending up on the butcher’s block. I was able to gain some measure of satisfaction from the notion that for their short lives, I was able to provide a somewhat better environment that a crowded smelly barn. Additionally, by roaming free and cohabitating with hens, they was a chance they could get laid before ending up on a dinner table.


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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.