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

Monday, October 20, 2008

Oh Yah, I can Swim

By the time I was I third grade I found waters that were not to chilly to jump into. Although the Gulf still seemed cold, waters in Osprey bay and its surrounding creeks, estuaries, and bayous were luxuriously warm. Not only that but the bottoms were soft mushy mud that felt good to walk on. Mud flats held no grassy sections that could hide crabs, fishes and other denizens that might devour small boys. Also, even at the end of the dock facing the shore, waters were not over our heads. Here we could jump in and pretend to swim. The whole summer that year, I learned how to paddle forward as long as my feet could occasionally touch bottom long enough to catch breath and rest. Perhaps for a few strokes, I could even be swimming.
With the advent of fall, we stopped going in the water. Because of the amount of time I had spent in the water including many short periods when I had my feet off the bottom and my posture almost approaching a float position, I considered myself an accomplished swimmer. I attended a short swim lesson session that taught us how to float and hold our breath under water. I could hardly wait until the next summer when I would join the kids who jumped off the dock on the deep side facing out of the harbor and swim under the dock to the swallow side where we could stand on the bottom.
The next spring my first chance for swimming came with the first warm weather. I was enrolled in Cub Scouts and once a week went to our Den Mother, Mrs. Langer’s house after school to engage in scouting activities. She had a pool and on the first hot day we all changed into trunks and gathered round the pool. Each boy was polled about his ability to swim. When asked, remembering the strong fluttering I had done the previous year, I answered. “Yah, I can swim.” Mrs. Langer accepted my answer and let me join the boys in the deep end. The depth where I jumped in was eight feet and it did not have a soft muddy bottom. I found the water not so buoyant and was not able to stay up in the float position. I let myself sink to the bottom, went into a crouch and sprang my legs open propelling me to the surface. There I captured a big gulp of air, fell back into the deep and sank back to the bottom. Hitting it , I again went into a crouch and sprang to the surface again. I repeated this for quite a while not making any headway, but not getting exhausted either. I was too embarrassed to scream for help and just kept bobbing up and down.
Finally, one of the scout leaders sensed I was perhaps in trouble and asked me “ as I shot above the surface, “Do you need help getting to the side.?” As I took in a big gulp, I nodded affirmative and went back down. On my next ascent, I was grabbed by strong hands and lifted out of the pool. I was grateful for the help but was ashamed to admit, how much I needed it. I just acted like I had been practicing a new water acrobat routine. Inside, I was determined to give swimming pools a rest and confine my swimming activates to the safety of Osprey town dock with its soft muddy bottom where I could stand with my head out of the water.


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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.