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

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Some kind of magic is afoot. November 1976, Corning, NY

It is more than a three mile hike across the causeways and bridges separating the United States and Canada over the Saint Laurence river as it meanderers through Thousand Islands. By the time we got to the Canada Customs the chill from the previous night had been walked away. Both Cathy and I were warmed and anticipated getting to Montreal. We did not expect the snag we hit at the border. I had landed immigrant status in Canada and could be admitted without pause. Cathy, as an American, was expected to have sufficient money to last her stay as visitor. We had been traveling light in cash. Cathy had little over thirty US dollars. That was not enough to satisfy the Customs agent nor was it sufficient I vouched for her support. She was denied admission.
I joined her on a trek back to United States Customs. Fortunately she was allowed to come back to her own country. Otherwise, she would have been stuck in no man’s land, that strip that shows up on maps as a broken or solid line. As soon as we got through, we sat on the curb and discussed our options. As an aside, I blurted, “Wouldn’t it be strange if a limousine pulled over, picked us up and after going into the US a bit, turned around and headed back to the border; and, when we got there, because of our fancy ride, they would not ask to see how much money you had?” With that thought still in the air, a long white limo pulled over unhailed. Its driver opened his window and asked, “ You guys need a lift?” Without a moment’s hesitation, we climbed in its spacious back with all our gear.
As he took off, our driver announced he was only going to Watertown airport to pick up a distinguished professor who had a speaking engagement at Queens University in Kingston, Ontario. Cathy and I looked at each other in amazement. How could our wish come so quickly? I disclosed to the driver our idea. Unfortunately, he described that once he had a paying fare in his vehicle, he could not give rides. Soon he was at his exit and apologized as he let us out that he felt bad he could not fulfill our prayer request. We thanked him, stepped out into the afternoon sun and decided to spend some of our small money on bread, cheese and wine, then enjoyed a pleasant repast. Afterward, we headed back to the highway with thoughts that likely Cathy and I would separate; she heading to Florida, I back up to Canada. Just as we put out our thumbs a large truck passed. It’s driver honked his air horn and waved his CB microphone at us. Before long, another truck appeared, already slowing down as it approached. It stopped and we climbed aboard. The driver let us know his buddy radioed back to him that we were on the road seeking a ride.
Apparently truckers help one another in their task of getting hitchhikers off the road and into a ride. I quickly related our story and still uncertain destinations. He informed us that after hauling his load of lumber to Pennsylvania, He was picking up another load to transport back to Canada.. He offered to let us accompany him back to Ontario. The only hitch was that we could not accompany him to his yard in Pennsylvania, but would have to make out way across New York. We planned a rendezvous at a diner near Corning New York at three AM next morning. After letting us out in Binghamton, we made our way across New York and marveled at the incredible way that our dream was manifesting.

No comments:

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.