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 27, 2008

Winter‘s a coming. November 1976, Watertown, NY

By the beginning of November, the weather still seemed mild. Cathy who was from Florida did not even seem to mind the briskness in the air present in upstate New York. She wanted to be back in Florida by the time coldness returned. In the meantime, we figured there was still time to go up to Montreal and visit Bonnie and Richard before that occurred. We left Monticello by mid morning and headed west toward Binghamton before turning north toward Canada. The day was bright and pleasantly mild.
By the time we got to Watertown, it was late evening. We were still about forty mikes south of the border and did not want to be hitchhiking across late at night. It was beginning to get a tad frigid. We found a spot where we could huddle together wrapped up in our bedrolls. We camped under a trailer in a sales lot next to an all night truck stop. Before retiring we took advantage of the warmth inside and enjoyed a bowl of soup. Taking as much of the warmth with us we went out wrapped up and tried ot get some sleep.
The descending cold prevented us from getting rest. Before we could fall asleep, we needed to go back into the diner and warm up again. While inside we drank hot chocolate or coffee. By the time we warmed up, we went back outdoors to try and find some rest. Both the cold and caffeine combined to prevent us from getting sleep. We tossed, turned, quivered and stayed awake. When cold became overwhelming we got up again, returned indoors and repeated the procedure. By morning’s first light, we had gotten no sleep and wearily headed out to the highway to resume our trek towards the border. Our hope was to flag down a ride that would offer us the warmth of a car‘s heater. Right away a van blew by and its driver waved and pulled over a short bit down the highway. Cathy an I gathered our belongings and ran to get inside. Getting there, we quickly threw our gear into the back and settled on the bench seat in front with the driver. As, he took off we noticed that this van had no windshield. We proceeded to race north facing a wind that’s intensity matched our speed. The driver told us he was headed right to the bridge that began crossing the Thousand Islands boundary between the United States and Canada, It only took about forty shivering minutes to get there.
When he stopped to let us out, the wind ceased and a bright morning sun was rising over the many islands dotting the Saint Laurence River. Although it was likely only a few degrees above freezing, it felt almost tropical in the stillness of new light. We headed out walking the few miles over bridges and causeways towards the customs booth where we could gain entry to Canada. The walking and rising sun warmed and invigorated us. We both hoped that as close as we were to Montreal and friends that our next night would not have to be spent sleeping outdoors in frigid temperatures.


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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.