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

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Liam Does Not Like Fires

I got used to the idea that we are not going to make traditional bonfires around here. Last night we used a metal container that is designed to hold a fire off the ground and provides a screen to cover it over when it is ready to go out. We managed to build and hold a sizeable fire that suited as campfire. This container is also light and quite portable. Today , I decided to move it near a large brush pile and hold fires there until that pile is exhausted. I began clearing away to bare ground an area of larger circumference than the large urn. I figured this area would also be a good place to dump ashes. As I was making this clearing several large rocks presented themselves from the undergrowth. By the time it was ready to make a fire, rocks ringed the whole shebang and besides having an elevated metal platform to hold the blaze, it resembled a traditional campfire setting.
I went in the house to fetch matches and a piece of paper. My intent was to make an initiation fire and begin burning up some of the debris I just cleared out. Liam , my six year old grandson was Inside and I asked him to join me in fire making. He agreed and I felt we were in for a grandfather-grandson bonding experience. He brought a squirt gun with him. After I got the fire going and sizeable blaze was bursting forth, Liam came up and squirted me. I dashed that idea and told him he could take charge of being the fireman and quench any small pieces that managed to get out of the container. He objected to this and told me he did want to be a firefighter. He stated, “I don’t need to learn about fires, I am going to drive trains when I grow up. He seemed upset with the idea fire could leave the container. I told him it was OK and we could take care of it.
He then broke into tears and ran to the house. He would not talk to me except to say he did not like fires and wanted me to stay in attendance with the one I lit, until it stopped glowing. When I went to the house to see what was the matter, he kept up a steady fuss and insisted I go back to the fire, and not leave it unattended. He was acting so alarmed about having a fire unattended, I wondered it he might be exhibiting strong primal behavior with an adversity to flames. I wonder about the source of his strong contrary reaction. We engaged in a power struggle. He not willing to discuss the possibility that this fire might be safe, and could be observed from other vantage points than right next to it. .
The fire died down , we talked about fires. He has a vast interest in them, but he also has a strong sense of caution. He expressed interest in all the differing ways fires can get out of control. To prevent that from happening he likes to take control. As far as I can figure, Liam gets bombarded with fire safety lectures and presentation s in school. He is normally, anxious and it takes very little to get him in a controlling protective frame. I was disappointed that he could not enjoy tending a fie with me, but it seems he is a good candidate for slow patient instruction about the nature of fires. Perhaps a good place to start is with his interest in trains. In times past one of the most important goods on a train was that of fireman.


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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.