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 3, 2008

OK, I say uncle. January 1977, Gainesville, FL

I lasted exactly 22 days making croutons. It was a couple of days before Christmas when I got my last and only pay check. Soon the warmth of the Holiday season left and the bitter cold of Michigan winter set in. It did not take me too long to decide to head toward warmer environment. An oil tanker had befouled the waters off the coast of Massachusetts and Rhode Island. A call was out for help cleaning up shoreline. Although it was not the tropics, winter in southern New England is not as brutal as one facing Lake Michigan. I decided to hitch across to Massachusetts and see about helping cleaning up the spill.
After spending the whole of my first day trying to get across Michigan, I was getting disheartened about going all the way the across the Midwest and New England to get to somewhat milder winter. The temperature never rose above zero Fahrenheit by the time I reached I-75S. I knew from previous years this was the road used to get to central Florida. That cinched it, I changed directions and headed south. Quickly and elderly couple picked me up. They were only headed to Ohio, but assured me it would still be light out when they let me out. I had no illusions about trying got find a spot to make a fire to ward off the cold. Freezing to death seemed certain for anyone trapped out in this cold.
I made up my mind to press on until I hit Florida. I would stay on the road hitching. We passed a van that seemed full of smoke. You could not even see the driver and passengers. I made a remark about how they must be smoking up a storm. Secretly, I wished that after my ride let me out, this van would stop for me and keep me in smoke all the way to Florida. It did not take too long for my ride to reach its destination and let me out. As soon as I got my gear together a familiar van pulled over offering me a lift. My hopes soared, as I held a vision of riding all the way to florid awhile getting stoned on good smoke. I climbed in.
Right away, I captured reality. The smoke I believed I saw was caused by frosted windows. This van had no heater. This crew also held no smoke. However, they were headed to my destination--Florida. Several guys were installed in their sleeping bags scattered on the floor. Even the driver was in a sleeping bag. He worked the gas and brakes with both feet encased in his the bag. I rolled up in my bedroll and joined the parade. At least this gang was intent upon driving straight through until they found warmer weather. At first light in the morning we arrived in Chattanooga Tennessee. The temperatures were exceedingly mild-- up in the fifties. We stopped for coffee and breakfast, and stripped down to shirtsleeves enjoying the weather. I had not gotten my ride with a van load of hippies getting stoned, but I did find a ride that got me to mild weather. I felt grateful.


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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.