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, October 9, 2008

Movie review: Quest for Fire (1982)

I enjoyed this movie in theater when it was first released. I was drawn in immediately. This movie followed a band of prehistoric people who had yet to learn how to make fire. For them, fire was a possession that needed to be kept alive. One tribal member was responsible for carrying a container of embers and keeping them glowing. His was likely an esteemed tribal position. Besides carrying the embers, he was charged with using them to develop a fire. They lose their fire when they are driven out into a rainstorm by an attacking band of strangers. They escape and huddle in a swampy lowlands. At first their mood is celebratory, until they discover their fire did not survive.
The dialogue in this movie is remarkable. A special language was drawn up. They communicated by grunts, guttural sounds and gestures. Even lacking translation, it was not difficult to pick up the gist of their communication. Their conversation after discovering they were with out fire, resembles a modern group facing crises. Here is where communication breaks down, just as it does when a present day group is under threat of losing a vital possession. Emotions tend to rule, and logic and planned response take a back seat. Here we witness the squabbling and in fighting that results as they try to figure out a method to obtain more fire resources.
Finally a band of three is sent out seeking fire. There are hints this is not going to be an easy trek. For one thing, which direction would you go to look for fire. It is not quite as simple as trying to find berries, when you just head to the regular patch that is always in the same place. Fire seems more elusive. It will not likely be found in the same place. We follow this crew as they wander around searching for fruit of a different nature. They interact in much the same way as a modern group would react to a loss of somethiof prime import but with not much clue of how to restore it. Finally off in the distance they notice smoke-- a sign of their elusive goal. They head gingerly in that direction, not knowing who they may encounter. They find that the smoke comes from a campfire of a group of cannibals preparing to have a feast.
The intended dinner, is tied up nearby. One of the dinner party already is missing an arm and it is shown being turned on the fire. Fumbling with their language, the band of searchers concoct a plan to steal fire and in the process, free the human cattle. As fate has it, one of the freed bunch demonstrates how to use flint to make fire. Besides this their teacher, a female, shows them new techniques of human fire making. Up till then our band enjoyed animal type sex, but now they were shown lovemaking. They proceed back to their tribe with much booty. This small aside, may or may not have been realistic, but I enjoyed it showed how in many ways sparks can turn to flame. The acting was elemental, but good in that all that transpired happened without a word off English, yet I felt I had good grasp of the story. Well done.


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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.