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, September 24, 2008

Awakened by the blaze

Winter in Louisiana can seem just a cold as in the deep north. Houses do not possess the same degree o tightness nor insulation. The old tenement shack we rented also had no heat source apart from an electric space heater. Our well, out front, was at the bottom of a three foot hole. Down there, our water pump was exposed to the cold, which sometimes can get frigid enough to freeze water pipes until they rupture. To prevent that we had a 150 watt light burning all the time at the bottom of the hole. It probably worked since we suffered no broken pipes all winter.
Most likely since we lived in the deep south, we also lacked most gear that folks in the north wore in winter. I noticed no scarves, long underwear, woolen hats, nor heavy coats. Sweaters, long pants and heavy socks were the most used winter clothing. Damp mornings put a chill on us that usually was burned away by the sun when it arose. Days that remained overcast never seemed to warm, yet we did not suffer bone chilling cold, just uncomfortable dampness. At night leaving the space heater on did not seem safe, so we huddled under lots of blankets and comforters. Once tucked in it did not feel cold. The only problem presented when trying to get out of bed in chilly morning.
One night, I was awakened by an uncomfortable heat. I was puzzled at first since it seemed warmer than any sultry nights of summer. Then I noticed a strange glow coning around from the far side of our house. I got up to investigate. I noticed immediately it was not only warm, but unbearably hot. Once I got to the living room, I realized the house across the street was ablaze. The fire department was just arriving, but were unable to do anything except spray water at adjacent properties to keep them from igniting. The roar of the flames was intense and the heat issuing from the fire almost made it impossible to look in that direction. By now our housemates were awake and marveling at the intense inferno across the street.
We were amazed that temperatures were high enough to cause the electric wires strung along the road separating our house from the one on fire to sag until they reached the ground. Once in contact with the ground, sparks issued and our neighborhood was plunged into darkness except for glow of the yet to diminish flames. It was probably over and hour before the roof collapsed, dragging most of the high reaching flames with it to the ground. Finally the heat began to quell. We all got back to our beds and awoke the next morning to normal damp chilliness. The house across the street was reduced to a still smoldering pile of rubble. The electric lines had raised them selves off the ground and our electricity was restored. I sensed I had dreamed about the raging fires of Hell.


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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.