Stone Balancing

April 1, 2014 Stone Balancing

April 1, 2014 Stone Balancing, a photo by pixygiggles on Flickr.

When I saw Michael Grab‘s fantastic skill at stone balancing, my curiosity was piqued. How does he do that?! His work and the balancing skills of others like him inspired me to give it a try. The above photo is my latest attempt, taken yesterday at Burgess Falls. I’m no Michael Grab, but I can understand the allure of practicing such an art form. It’s like a form of meditation. I was surprised at how easily these 7 rocks fit together once I calmed my hands and took a few deep breaths.

In an article I read titled, The Secret Behind How This Guy Balances Rocks Is Very Unusual. Can You Guess It?, Grab explained:

“The most fundamental element of balancing in a physical sense is finding some kind of ‘tripod’ for the rock to stand on. Every rock is covered in a variety of tiny to large indentations that can act as a tripod for the rock to stand upright, or in most orientations you can think of with other rocks. By paying close attention to the feeling of the rocks, you will start to feel even the smallest clicks as the notches of the rocks in contact are moving over one another. In the finer point balances, these clicks can be felt on a scale smaller than millimeters. Some point balances will give the illusion of weightlessness as the rocks look to be barely touching. Parallel to the physical element of finding tripods, the most fundamental non-physical element is harder to explain through words. In a nutshell, I am referring to meditation, or finding a zero point or silence within yourself. Some balances can apply significant pressure on your mind and your patience. The challenge is overcoming any doubt that may arise.”

I had two other attempts at stone balancing that I never got around to sharing, so I thought I would include them here as well. The first is from October 1, 2013. I think that was 5 stones, not counting the one it’s sitting on.

 October 1, 2013 Stone Balancing

October 1, 2013 Stone Balancing, a photo by pixygiggles on Flickr.

And these next two are from February 24, 2014. The first was a measly 3 stones, but an attempt, nonetheless. The second try was a total of 5 small stones. I knew I wasn’t satisfied with the first attempt, so I decided to try again right before I left the park that day. This was closer to the trail’s beginning at the cascades. Both of these were poorly photographed. However, in my defense, it was really cold that day, lol.

February 24, 2014 Stone Balancing #1

February 24, 2014 Stone Balancing #1, a photo by pixygiggles on Flickr.

February 24, 2014 Stone Balancing #2

February 24, 2014 Stone Balancing #2, a photo by pixygiggles on Flickr.

I look forward to trying more of these in the future. I’ll agree that it is a meditative process; and it’s certainly soothing to my anxious mind, especially with the heavenly sounds of nature – birds singing, water flowing, grasses rustling – in the background. I’m left wondering, do you knock them down when you’re done? Hmm, I think that would somehow shatter the peacefulness. I chose to leave these as they were, allow nature to take her course. Hopefully, others might find it an inspiration to pause and give it a try, as Michael Grab inspired me to do.

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4 thoughts on “Stone Balancing

  1. We walk an area of trails and chaparral every morning and evening with our dog, and someone (or someones) that also uses the trail has taken to cairn building. It’s really a wonderful treat to see what’s new along the trail.

    1. Awesome! I’ve come across a few people’s creations in my area, too. It is a treat! There was a pretty huge one at Cummins Falls. I think everyone who goes out there was adding to it. I haven’t hiked to the bottom of that gorge in almost 2 years, though. That one is on my list for summer outings this year. It’s been too long.

      Thanks for teaching me a new word, “cairn.” I didn’t know there was a term for it or that it had an actual usefulness (other than the meditative quality). One sentence on Wikipedia about cairns stood out to me, “The building of cairns in the American Southwest has proliferated in the last decade and has caused much controversy regarding the conflict between providing navigational trail markers and protecting the remaining natural condition of the landscape.”

      I can understand that concern. I’ll always be an advocate for protecting the natural condition of the landscape; but to me, these feel like temporary structures, not built to last, only to mark a moment in time.

      Thanks for the comment and new vocabulary word, Steve!

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