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 8, 2008

Saying Goodbye to Lenny. May, 1992: Martha’s Vineyard, MA

It was evidence of the number of friends Lenny left behind by the crowd that attended his memorial service. He was present in a box of ashes. He had no written will, but left behind instructions for his friends to dispense of his ashes as they saw fit. His brother, as next of kin, took possession of Lenny’s ashes. After the ceremony a large gathering of friends who had been in attendance with him for the past few weeks congregated at the house on the lagoon where Lenny had passed over. It was a gorgeous afternoon and folks sat on the lawn in small groups and shared small personal anecdotes about how Lenny touched their lives. Along with the stories, food was brought and shared. One friend brought a small rose bush to plant in Lenny’s honor.
After a time we arrived at consensus to sprinkle half of his ashes in the lagoon. A small contingent carried that half to a small dock. Amidst small readings and personal salutations, spoonfuls of Lenny’s ashes were carried by a slight breeze toward the water. Soon that half was dispersed. It was undecided where the rest would be distributed, The rosebush and remainder of Lenny’s ashes would have to find a home on someone’s land. I and two others gathered the rosebush and ashes and headed into Oak Bluffs. At top of Circuit Avenue was a pedestrian mall where Lenny frequently sat conducting his ministry. Lenny referred to the spot as, “Up on the hill.” That was often his destination if you ever asked him where he was headed. It seemed an appropriate place to leave a living memorial.
On the Circuit Avenue end of the mall was a small raised bed planter. It was contained by a brick wall that offered a fine sitting place for resting and observing the traffic, pedestrian or vehicle. This spot was often where one could find Lenny watching over his flock. He neither regarded himself as a street preacher or evangelist. Lenny saw himself as a friend amongst friends, a worker among workers. It was at this spot we decided to place his rosebush. Since we did not have permission from the town to leave the bush or ashes in their planter, our task became somewhat furtive. Quickly I scooped out a hole with my bare hands, placed his ashes at the bottom and stuck the rose bush on top. Next all three of us pushed the dirt back over the roots, stopped and offered a thoughtful prayer and said goodbye to our dear friend. Lenny approved of our choice of spot. A year later, the town renewed the planting in that bed and took out the rose bushes. Today Lenny’s ashes are pushing up other plantings. His work continues.


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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.