Rock balancing sculptures, plus a coconut

Rock Balancing Season is Here Again


While near Humber Bay Park this week I was happy to encounter these rock-balancing sculptures. The first time I saw these things by Ashbridge's Bay a few years ago, they blew my mind... which I think is what they do to everyone the first time. The inclusion of a coconut in this particular set is great, shows a sense of humour on the creator's part.

One might be tempted to blame Peter Riedel or Sunjye for this work of counter-entropy, but as I didn't see them actually being assembled, I can't say for sure. It could have been anyone, really.

I mean, I'm not saying that these two aren't very talented in this regard. They seem to do it more out of creation than imitation and have obviously practiced and developed their skills rather extensively, and that shows in the work. But rock balancing is something that just about anyone can pick up at a basic level and get started with.

I decided to give it a shot last summer on the Leslie Street Spit and found that irregularly shaped rocks could be balanced at odd angles a fair bit easier than I would've guessed.

It takes focus to judge the centre of gravity of each rock and find surfaces on each that might rest well together and then calm, patient effort to make many minor adjustments while supporting the upper rock(s) until finding the "sweet spot" arrangement, but many rocks do have such a spot where the angles combine perfectly to centre the weight in a line down through a stack of rocks.

It's also much easier, I would guess, to find suitable rocks when working with the jagged concrete that constitutes much of our lakefront park shoreline than working with rocks that have been broken and smoothed by erosion.

Beyond the satisfaction of not really having as sharp an initial learning curve as I'd expected, I found it to be a very meditative act, with my whole mind and body focused on the weight of the rock. This was before I read what Riedel had to say about rock balancing, but I was glad to see the exact same feeling I had expressed by him.

If you find yourself with a few minutes to spare while enjoying a quite moment in a park by the lake on a warm, sunny day this summer, give this a shot. Try not to break your toes, though. If you find you have a real knack, apparently Sunjye is considering potential apprentices.

Photo by Chris Orbz, video by kalicoyote aka Sunjye.


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