Rock and Stone Balancing World Wide Community

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Human beings have been picking up rocks for a very long time. Some have used them to build absolutely stable pyramids designed to conquer time. Others would be tempted to balance a rock on the top of that pyramid, knowing that chance, a brisk wind, a slight earth tremor, or even an experimental poke by an incredulous observer will topple it over.

The art of Briton Andy Goldsworthy plays with this interaction between "rivers and tides" of time, and his constructions have been the irresitible inspiration of many would-be balancers. In North America, Daryl Maddeaux has been an elusive presence publicly balancing along the Pacific Coast and across Canada for a number of years. John Félice Ceprano and Jim Needham, among others, have similarly expanded the possibilities and the audience for the art form. Gifted and skilled balancers are active in Italy and the UK, at least. Chris Booth of New Zealand has raised balanced stone to new artistic heights from Australia to England.

Far to the north, the Inuit of the Arctic traditionally build enormous stone figures of carefully placed boulders along waterways, announcing both their presence and their resourceful strength. Food may be found here, even shelter, the stones seem to say -- as long as they stand, so shall we.

Cairns and other rock piles have globally been used to mark a path, a place, or an event, with later visitors adding (or removing) stones as time passes. They are meant to last, as long as they carry useful meaning.

Yet even the arid "balancing rocks" of the vast Southwestern deserts, perched in unlikely configurations, are merely frozen in their travel towards sand and sea. We know they could fall, should fall, will fall, in the fullness of time.

Balancing is play and it is work. It is dance and, for some, it is prayer. Human beings stand upright against gravity; balancing on slender legs; toppling over in the controlled forward fall called walking.

And then, of course, there is beauty in this craft. Each rock in a balanced sculpture becomes perfect in its placement, its center of mass and gravity either directly above that of the one below it, or intricately interacting with others to share a mutual center, much as the Earth and moon orbit around a point somewhere between them.

"To see the world in a grain of sand" -- balancing all of life on the tip of a stone.

...tell me about Cairns
© Daliel Leite

Rock on, Rock ON!

One of Bill's

Bill Dan,
Crissy Field, SF