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 13, 2008

Talking about Fires

There is no denying Liam is afraid of fire. His actions portray trying to manage that fear. He reacts in a way that he hopes will remove the object of his fear. While he was out yesterday, I made a small fire outdoors to get rid of yard debris. When he returned with his parents, he attempted to take charge again. He does this my insisting that an adult stay in attendance at the fire. Essentially, this is good practice. Fire safety dictates that fires be tended. But he pushed this to an extreme, since he fusses when I walk to the house to fetch a rake. In the battle of wills that ensues, I have to both attend to a fire that could blow up and a kid that is erupting. Luckily the fire has almost died down, and Liam’s dad comes to the rescue. They agree to perch on the hammock and keep an eye on the fire that by now has given up on producing flame and reduced to glowing embers.
This frees me up to attend to grinding up some nuts to produce peanut butter. All the kids looked forward to filling their own jar. Ella, Inanna, and Tyler all got to make personal labels for the jars they filed. Liam surrendered his chance since he could not let himself leave the fire till even the last wisp of smoke emitted. His fear yielded an extreme sense of fire safety. He was not about to listen to reason that the dying fire could be monitored as long as we were nearby and it did not require constant gazing at it to ensure it would not escape its metal container. But eventually, it died down enough that he felt safe to wander over to the playground and join in other kid activities.
Soon after supper was over, Liam’s parents left for a night on the town. I was left in charge of the kids. As it got dark, a chill was settling in and I prepared a fire in the fireplace. As soon as Liam noticed what was going on, be became anxious and stood outside the doorway to the living room, occasionally peering around the corner to see if he had to launch another fire safety crusade. He threatened to spend the night outdoors rather than live indoors and share his space with fire.
I stood firm in letting him know that staying outdoors was more risky than living with a fire and I would not permit that. I also let him know that it was beneficial for us to have warmth that the fire would provide. I was also aided by other folks that wanted to get warmed by the fire. Melanie and Cory, both engaged Liam in conversation about the benefits that fire provided for mankind, including the fact that Liam’s beloved trains ran because they could carry a contained fire.
Eventually, Liam came around the corner and was willing to join us in conversation . At first he had to be assured that the glass doors and screens in front of the fireplace would contain fire and not let it pounce out at us. Slowly, talk drifted to other subjects and Liam appeared settled and safe getting warmed by the fire. Finally, Liam let his imagination run free and began letting out tales that exposed his vast range of fears about its dangers. I listened to an incredible array of stories that showed what could occur in a fertile mind. We even joked about his immense powers of imagination that showed an inner flame of his own. By the time he needed to get ready for bed, Liam was OK with the idea that what was left of fire would be OK behind the safety apparatus in front of the fireplace. I figured he went to bed with a healthy respect for his new friend fire.


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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.