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, September 25, 2008

My First Campfire

We already had television to provide us with images of cowboys and the like perched around a campfire. Here they did their cooking, told stories, and huddled under their blankets to keep warm. All of our campfire experiences were gleaned from these television dramas. One day, I along with two friends, Michael and Drew decided o have a campout. Michael’s folks let us have use of a large field behind their house. Camping out meant we would build and maintain a campfire.
We already had plenty of experience building fires. We gathered a quantity of wood and constructed a sizeable one. We had no experience cooking, even indoors. So our meal consisted of fruits, snacks and other cold goodies. We did know about roasting marshmallows, We cut a few sticks to hold marshmallows to the fire and gobbled down a few of these toasty treats before settling in. We had maintained a sizeable fire and still had ample wood to burn through the night.and provide heat for sleeping out in the open. Taking our cue from soldiering movies we posted a guard, whose duties included tending the fire. Even in Florida it was a chilly night and we figured it a matter of survival to keep our fire going.
With the first guard posted the other two of us fell to slumber. At some time in the night I was awakened for my guard shift. I tiredly maintained a presence watching fire. By the time our next shift was due, we agreed to abandon guard duty and just put the remaining wood on the fire and sleep the night through. We all managed to get enough warmth from the final blaze that we all fell in deep sleep. At some time in the middle of the night. I was awakened by a powerful acrid smell a sense of being too warm. I found my feet had swung into the glowing embers. Likely they were cold and sought heat on their own. My wool blanket was smoldering. That was the source of the powerful smell. I got up scrapped the burnt part of my blanket away, bundled back up and went back to sleep.
Through the night, I must have alternately felt cold feet and smelt bad smells. Several times I awoke to the same scene, my feet snaked over to the barely glowing embers and my blanket again smoking. By morning my fitful night ended and I discovered the nice US Army blanket borrowed from my Uncle Bob, pretty much charred beyond use. My two campmates suffered no such loss. Apparently their sleeping bags kept their feet enclosed and warm throughout the night. I was disappointed by my first camping experience, and felt regret I ruined a fine blanket I cherished. I determined that should I try camping again, I would obtain a sleeping bag, and find a way to stay warm besides letting myself crawl into the fire.


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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.