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

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Rooster goes crazy: Free Spirit Farm. March 1976, Gainesville, FL

Our farm not only held an assortment of people but we also took in stray animals. A large effort was made to ensure all animals including the large bipeds with opposable thumbs got along. For the most part we were successful. Disagreements were worked out and this usually took a group effort. Our assortment of animals that also seemed able to get along peacefully included a hodgepodge of domesticated dogs and cats, and a collection of feathered friends. These included a turkey, duck, several chickens, other domesticated fowl and a bantam cock. He served as rooster to this strange flock. We also had occasional visits from wild species of one sort or other. Most of these were reptilian including a stray alligator that found its way onto our lawn one morning and a large rattlesnake that lived in the woods nearby.
Even these dangerous species, although shocking to see, did not cause problems and did not interfere in our peaceful setting. One morning the peace was broken by our bantam cock who must have remembered his fighting instincts. There was constant commotion as he attacked every feathered creature on the premises. Most of the birds managed to stay away from him. He would turn his attention to the nearest one and chase after it until it scurried away. He would then turn his attention to the next bird nearby. All this chasing was accompanied by loud screeches and visible pecking. For all threatening behavior it did not seem blood was being drawn. That is until he got after the turkey.
I do not know if it was because the turkey was to slow either physically or of wit. But once the bantam went after him, there was not let up. The rooster would approach from underneath and grab turkey’s caruncle, that large colorful flap of skin dangling from his throat. . He would latch onto it and pull the turkey’s head down. It seemed the turkey could not escape this treatment and it continued until he got quite bloodied. All the other birds held their distnace and seemed to observer the turkey’s fate. They might have even been feeling grateful not to be in his place. The whole scène greatly disturbed me and I decided to break it up.
Grabbing a small stick I hurled it at the two of them hoping to scatter them in hopes the turkey would get away. Inadvertently, the stick struck the rooster in the side of his head. Immediately he went down and many of the other birds rushed him to try and gain revenge. I now felt bad for what I had inflicted on rooster and rushed to his aid. I managed to move all other fowl away and grabbed rooster to assess how I may have hurt him. It was serious. He suffered the loss of an eye and by the tilt of his neck, it was probably broken. I felt appalled to have caused such damage in my efforts to bring peace.
I instinctively realized if rooster was to mend, he would need a place to recover where the other birds could not get to him. We had an abandoned Volkswagen and it sufficed as his rehabilitation center. I placed him there and for the next several days feed, nursed and ministered to him. He eventually recovered enough to rejoin the flock. Now his manner was calm, the other birds got over their trauma and let him be. Calm returned to our barnyard. Poor rooster had a serious disability. The crook in his neck caused his head to be tilted permanently in such manner that his one eyed only looked upward. He had no eye to look down at the ground where his food would be scattered. Special care had to be taken to feed him, Extra food would be broadcast around him, so that when he pecked blindly downward, chance would be he would hit something. Feeling responsible for his condition, I accepted the task of making sure he got adequate feed. I asked his forgiveness for causing his sorrows. He did not seem to hold it against me.


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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.