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, September 26, 2008

Franklin Comes Alive

A Christmas storm in 1977 ushered in a long, cold, brutal winter. Living in a beach house on the Connecticut shore of Long Island Sound meant we had to find ways to supplement a fireplace and space heaters to stay warm. Smitty brought in an old Franklin stove. Although these are drafty and not noted as efficient stoves, it was a large step up from a fireplace. At least the heat it produced was contained within the house and not drawn up the chimney. We even constructed a new metal chimney to vent it out the side the house. This enabled us to seal up the fireplace and keep the heat from wood fire indoors.
Since, I was not employed, my task was to gather, cut and chop firewood. I also tended the fire and made sure the house did not freeze. It seemed that all thorough the month of January the temperature never got above the low twenties. Besides that a strong wind out of the northwest seemed constant. The beach side of the house faced south and was out of the wind and usually in the sun. This is where I set up a station to cut, chop and stack firewood. It was also easily accessible to the living room where Franklin Stove resided. The Christmas tree that was in the house for that celebration ended up on the beach near our pile of kindling. It had dried in the sun almost a month when our other kindling supply evaporated.
My routine upon awakening was to stoke up embers left from our overnight fire and add kindling to restructure a blaze to welcome folk in the morning as they rose. On the first day, that our kindling supply was gone, I took out an ax and chopped the old Christmas tree into pieces small enough to cram in the stove. And that is just what I did, crammed the stove full of dry brittle spruce tender. After loading it up, I shut the doors and stood back waiting for the kindling to ignite on the glowing bed of embers. While waiting, I stepped out to gather some firewood to add to the fire once it got going. When I came back inside with an armload, I was greeted by an alive Franklin. All the tender kindling was ablaze The heat it generated caused all the seams to open and the sides of Franklin to warp outward. Belching sounds emitted as Franklin whooped to gather oxygen to fed its raging inferno.
Each time it took a gulp, the stove seemed to move slightly. It seemed to be alive and straining to move itself outdoors to find more air and fuel. Luckily, the fuel provided by the chopped up Christmas tree exhausted rapidly. Just as hastily as it came alive, Franklin passed away. The belching , wheezing, and leaping about ceased. As the metal parts cooled down they returned to their previous shape and the seams closed up. When I opened the front, the remnants of the fire were ready to receive the pieces of wood, I had brought to sustain it. I placed them inside and sat back to observe Franklin do the job he was designed to perform.


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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.