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

Monday, September 29, 2008

Burning Rope

For a time, I lived with Willow and her two kids in Gainesville Florida. Jeremy and Kelly were school age and enrolled in an alternative school. They were home schooled for a good part of their day. That meant one adult was home most of the time. Willow worked occasionally as a waitress and other times worked at home as a seamstress. My work was home services and I was self employed. Many of my projects were carried out at home so I could do my share of adult supervision. Money was tight, but our rent was paid and we ate well. Nonetheless, it seemed depressing at times considering our lack of funds and how that curtailed our spending habits.
On day, I was home. I had not much work of the kind that would provide income, so I concentrated on a clean up. We had a burn pit in the back yard where we got rid of yard debris and trash. We composted vegetable matter but burned most of the rest. Since I was launching a massive clean out, we had a lot for the fire. The kids were having a home school day. Jeremy was helping me, Kelly stayed indoors working on a school art project. I appreciated his help.
We had a lot of packing materials and scraps from projects to haul to the fire. It was not a large blaze and we just kept adding to it. I must have been lagging and experiencing a slight depression pondering my lack of funds. It made me drag along and threatened to turn our project into a full day affair. At one point, I carried a box full of debris up to the fire and noticed Jeremy dragging a piece of rope through the coals. As he passed it through it would catch fire. Upon withdrawing it, he would beat it against the dirt to extinguish it. Once out, he would pass it through the coals again and repeat the process. I sharply asked him, “What the hell are you doing?”
Without pause he answered, “ I am a rope burner.” I quipped, “Is that so? Tell me about being a rope burner.” Jeremy explained he was a part of a small element that had the job of burning ropes. It was kind of an exclusive fellowship with not many members. Being drawn in I asked, “If there are not so many of you, I guess you must get paid pretty well.” He nodded and agreed, “Yes, we get five hundred an hour and have a strong union.” Quite impressed with his imagination, I asked, “ Can I get a job with you?” “Sure, I can take you on as an apprentice.” Jeremy offered. That surely lifted my spirits and that is how I joined the international brotherhood of rope burners. Since that day I have never suffered depression as a result of a lack of work. I can always find a rope to burn.


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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.