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

Tonight’s Fire

Behind the house I moved into August 1, are several acres of woods, Scattered about the trails that my landlord mowed are piles of brush. When I first spotted them, I could only envision magnificent bonfires. I searched for a clearing where burning could be conducted in safety. One spot offered a circle over seventy five feet in diameter where no overhead branches would be harmed by a sizeable fire. However, the landlord nixed the idea. He feared that an open fire may not be legal and would draw undue negative attention. I assured him that fires for entertainment and cooking are legal and I felt comfortable tending a fire until it extinguished. But to no avail, he did not want an open fire. As a compromise, he purchased a metal fire holder it that stood on legs over a foot off the ground. It came with a dome shaped screen cover to help contain sparks. It did not provide the same atmosphere as a fire on the earth in a pit enclosed by a circle of rocks.
I gave up on the idea of large bonfires and headed towards making my fires indoors in the fireplace. Over time, I hauled much of the wood to a spot near the house and set up a wood cutting station. For the past few weeks, I cut and stacked over a cord of wood for fireplace fires. Tonight, several folks were over for a dinner and party. I managed to get a fire going in the fireplace as several folks gathered in the kitchen to fix a meal. Jayme and Dan headed outside to set a fire in the container. Being a mild evening, outdoor fires seemed appropriate. Looking out the back, I noticed a nice blaze. Looking closer at it, I spotted a few pieces that looked like they may have been ones I had cut to fireplace size. My woodpile had been raided.
Jayme was headed over in the direction of my pile. I went over and noticed one end of the stack was disassembled and the pile unraveling. I informed Jayme that I did not mind he used the wood, but showed him how I neatly stacked the ends so they held the stack together. He apologized for grabbing those pieces. Next I told him that for outdoor fires there was much material laying about that could be used and we did not have to use wood that was cut to fireplace length.
I gave myself the job of fire tender and went off in the woods to gather bundles of fagots. Each tine. I approached with a bundle, I set about snapping smaller pieces apart and laying them in the fire. Larger pieces, I laid across the fire till they burned through and both ends could be shoved into the inferno. In the meantime, our crowd of evening guests gathered round the fire and engaged in normal fireside behavior. Stories and jokes were told. Smaller side conversations were initiated. Finally, musical instrument s appeared and sitting round the fire sing-a-longs sprung up. II tended the fire till it retired, then went off to bed, satisfied that another fire story had been told.


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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.