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

Friday, October 3, 2008

Where there’s smoke....

The winter of 1974-74 was brutally cold, especially near Niagara-on-the -Lake Ontario. I spent the fall and early winter there. Two friends, Richard and Lisa bought a house that they were refurbishing. I lent an occasionally hand. Around Christmas time they left for a bit to visit family and friends. While away a deep freeze broke a water pipe. A thaw exposed the resulting leak and by the time they returned their basement was flooded. They called me for help. I hurried over with my plumber‘s kit.
Rather quickly we traced the leak to a pipe located in a crawl space under their kitchen floor. Accessing this space from the basement, I discovered it full of leaf debris. Apparently, one side was exposed to outside weather and leaves had blown in and accumulated there for quite a while. By scrapping out several buckets full, I gained enough space to worm my way to where a repair could be made. It took only a short time to cut out the broken section and sweat in a new piece of pipe. We also got some pipe insulation and wrapped up the pipes before we shut of the access hole to the basement. It seemed their house was only used in three seasons before this and other winterization projects would bloom as we carried out renovations.
On my way over, I brought along two incredibly large and gorgeous heads of cabbage. To celebrate our success at plumbing repair, we decided upon making a stuffed cabbage feast. We made a day of it, alternately preparing food, taking on cleaning projects, beating drums, singing and dancing. We invited some friends over to join our celebration. Several times through out the day, we caught a whiff of smoke. We never detected its wispy presence and figured it was likely remnant smell left over from using my torch to sweat water pipes. We were not concerned and continued to celebrate.
Just as soon as night fell a stiff breeze picked up. Shortly we detected signs of smoke. The local Fire Department responded quickly to our call for help. Upon arriving they opened up the crawl space from the outside and using long rakes removed clumps of leaf debris. As soon as they hit fresh air, the clusters burst into flame, but were quickly extinguished. Apparently, while using my torch, I caught some tufts aglow. Since they had not much air in their cramped space they smoldered all day. With the advent of a fresh breeze they began to ignite. Quickly, the fireman cleared all the leaf debris out and instructed us to install a barrier against their infiltration. Not only can they be ignited by an unwary repairman, but piles of leaves can spontaneously create enough heat to cause them to smolder. We thanked them for their quick response, went back to our feast and discussed plans for tomorrow’s project sealing off the crawl space.


No comments:

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.