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

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Haven’t Learned a Thing

By the time I was twelve I had become quite proficient at swimming. I not only swam in the warm waters of Florida’s bays, but had gotten over my aversion to coolness of swimming pools. I could dive in and swim many lengths of the pool without a rest. Breathing, stroking, and pacing were becoming second nature. I felt quite at home in water as long as it was temperate. I had yet to venture north of the Florida border and taste cold northern waters Some of the fresh water springs in Northern Florida were too cold for my liking. I seemed to becoming a reptilian creature. Unfortunately my brain functions were slightly on that level also.
In the summer of my twelfth year, I attended a month long summer camp. The attendance fees were bartered by my dad in exchange for a large wooden canoe. We were put up in cabins with boys of the same age. My cabin held ten twelve year old lads and our counselor. The canoe my dad provided was large enough to hold the whole cabin load of us along with our counselor. It became apparent to us that our counselor had a slight fear of water. He always acted nervous out in the canoe. We never saw him swim and maybe he could not. Feeling our full measure of adolescent meanness, we devised a prank for him. We figured that on one of our trips out into middle lake, we would in mass abandon canoe and leave our counselor to fend for himself getting back to shore. We all figured we could make it back swimming. One day we got our chance.
We got out in the middle and on a pre arranged signal, all of us jumped out. We swam away in glee as our counselor was yelling at us to return. . We proceeded back to our docking area. About halfway there, I noticed by full length jeans were becoming waterlogged. The heavier they got the more arduous swimming became. I began worrying that I might become exhausted. Before I got completely worn out, I remembered something from water safety class about removing your clothing. Apparently I had dismissed the lesson about not going in water in your street clothes. I began peeling my pants down my legs. I only got them as far as knotted up around my ankles. There they acted like small weights.
Without use of my legs, II was being dragged down. At a few feet depth, I hit bottom and had enough spring to propel my self back to the surface. When I broke surface, I took a hug gulp of air. As I descended again I kicked furiously to free my legs. After a couple attempts one leg got free from its ankle restraint. Using my freed leg I could kick my way to the surface. After another huge gulp of air , I descended again and freed my other leg. Having both legs free, I could now resume my swim to shore towing my pants with good lifesaving water rescue technique.
I changed course and instead of heading to our dock, I headed to the nearest one--the dock of the neighboring Girl Scout camp. I noticed no one around there and realized I would be coming ashore in my under shorts. Rather quickly I hit their beach, looked round and saw the coast was clear. Gathering my pants in a bundle, I stealthily ran across their compound through the woods to our cabin. That night our cabin was restricted and lectured at great length concerning our stupid mean spirited behaviors. We lost canoe and water privileges for the remainder of summer. We all felt cheated by the consequences of our actions. It was only many years later did I come to and understanding concerning the narrow escape with possible drowning I had encountered.


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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.