The last couple days have been spent in the same location along Indian Creek in Indianhead, Pennsylvania. Close to where I grew up as a child, I find this creek to have some very interesting stones to choose from. The weather yesterday was a mixture of rain and snow making for less than ideal conditions. Actually downright unpleasant. I managed to build two balances. The first one was hideously aweful, the second was a little better. The first lasted less than a minute and produced 4 photos, the second I improved upon a bit, but also lasted about 50 seconds. Wet, cold, miserable and with darkness closing fast, I called it a day and retreated home for some warm dinner.
Today I returned to the same location and was greeted with somewhat more pleasant weather. It snowed large flakes almost the entire time which felt like a real life snow globe. The wind was blowing slightly less, which was better. I managed a few balances. The first was an astonishing point balance that may be the most minimal contact point I’ve ever achieved… hard to believe it was done while wearing gloves in a snowstorm? It lived a short duration of just a few moments allowing a quick examination and a few photos before toppling into the creek. I was going to rebuild it, but the point was damaged in the topple, rendering it less than ideal in my eyes. The second balance was less appealing in design, but technically more difficult. Balancing it became more of a game of “can I accomplish this before dark” than a well thought out, interesting piece. The snow came down harder producing a thin blanket of snow over the balance. Despite the balance being less than beautiful in my eyes the moment and experience made up for its lackluster design. I almost found myself dancing in the creek as the snow fell, then suddenly my hands quickly reminded me that they’d spent far too much time in frigid waters and that it was time to bid farewell to Indian Creek.
Seldom do I use broken stones in the balances I create. Sometimes they present themselves in a way that make them impossible to overlook. In this instance, choices for top rocks seemed to be eluding me intentionally. Low and behold, buried in the creek was this large stone that caught my eye. I loosened it from the creeks cold water only to see it was cracked, but of interesting shape. Slightly disappointed by the fracture, I inspected it from different angles, realizing that fate had taken its toll and this stone was presented for a reason. In my mind I equated it to a wishbone. This was the lucky half and not just a broken stone. Good things meant to happen and they did…This balance was finished just as heavy rains and night made their presence.
I spent some time creating this stone balance on the deck railing at home yesterday… It survived the night and throughout the day providing us with plenty of enjoyment. The evening turned out to be gorgeous allowing me to capture it in proper lighting 🙂
I’ve found my normal threshold for productive stone balancing to be roughly 15°F and above. Below that most creeks freeze over, stones are frozen to the ground and any that are selected from open creeks glaze over with ice within a minute of being pulled from the water. Yesterday was very near that threshold.
Beautiful Poplar Run in Western Pennsylvania
Tiny snowflakes started falling, just as I completed this balance
2015 has come and gone… It was a productive year that went by very quick. As we enter 2016, I look forward to what the future brings for KeyStone Balance. The mild weather has changed for the new year… Colder, winter conditions have moved in and I am once again remembering the challenges of cold weather stone balancing. Here’s a few photos of the new years balances to start things off right.