Spent a sunny Christmas day balancing in the little stream that runs along Jones Mill Road on Laurel Summit, very close to Hidden Valley Ski Resort. My first time… Looking forward to going back.
So I have this wind chime located on my front deck. It’s hefty and actually sounds more like a cowbell than a typical dainty wind chime. It was purchased on a trip to Colorado lifetimes ago. It doesn’t ring too often since it takes a rather robust wind to even get it swinging. It’s become a gauge to help me decide when it’s favorable conditions for stone balancing. Usually if the chime is ringing, its time to stay home. Yesterday as I contemplated my work day, I heard it dinging away… SHIT!!! Experience tells me that it’s probably not worth the effort to head out, but my mind was telling me otherwise. Being a frugal, conservationist type person, I opted to save the atmosphere and not burn gas driving to a spot on such a low probability day. Instead, I packed my kit and hoofed it to the old ski slopes in my neighborhood. I spent a few frustratingly productive hours balancing and enjoying the outdoors. Fate put a really interesting topper in my hands and I even managed to create 3 variations with it. On the third collapse, it broke in half putting an end to my efforts and sent me home to repair my driveway erosion from the recent “flooding”. Next time I hear the Colorado chime ringing, I may just reevaluate my actions 🙂
I contemplated the current conditions while staring out the front door. The trees were swaying which is usually a sign not to head to the creek. On top of that recent rains most likely brought the creek to a near unworkable level. To go or not to go? Go of course… with low expectations. The 3 minute drive had me looking at a murky, angry creek. It was up. Much higher and there would be no way of finding stones through the swift, muddy waters. Fortunately there were a few spots still reachable for finding a few rocks to work with. Slim pickings as far as what the norm would be. Adding a stiff wind to the equation and it made for a challenging afternoon. Although a challenge I found a few and set to work in the shallows atop a large flat rock. It took a while to gauge the wind and figure possibilities or more so, probabilities. My first inception didn’t appeal to me much. I shot a few photos, but thought it looked very basic and with horrible proportions. I disassembled the first build to improve the visual appeal. The end results were far more pleasing than I thought conditions suggested. My thoughts were substantiated by the life cycle of my second build. It lasted about 1 minute and produced 3 photos. When it toppled the top rock cracked into two pieces indicating that my time with these stones had run its course. Most of all it was time well spent thinking, studying and learning. No matter how much experience one has, learning never ceases.
Recent works – early December
Barronvale Bridge (revisited)
Revisited an old favorite spot today. Round here, it was the first day of “buck deer season”… figured the odds of getting shot wandering a remote creek were highly probable, so I went to a location that I figured to be safe(r) and set to work. Kinda surprised to find some ice on the creek. Once my hands were in for a WHile, I was educated to the fact of how the ice had formed. I’ve been foregoing the rubber gloves as much as possible in favor of dexterity and well…basically procrastination. I know there’ll be plenty of days where going raw pawed won’t be as tolerable.
This is the Barronvale covered bridge in Somerset County, Pennsylvania. A beautiful spot visited by many. I’ve posted a few balance photos from here before (see comments). It’s a beautiful creek. Home to some awesome stones, quite unique in shapes and state of polish. If you’re ever in the area. Stop and check this place out. Particularly upstream from the covered bridge. Pick up a few stones…see what you come up with ❤
Linn Run balancing 11.18.16
Spent a great deal of the morning stone balancing at Linn Run State Park, PA. It was a chilly morning. I was quickly reminded of early winter balancing. Not all wet rocks are simply wet. Some are actually covered in a thin coating of ice. I was carrying an arm load of rocks that I had collected when all of a sudden I was airborne. Took a hard spill draping myself over a large boulder and eventually coming to a rest after smashing my forearm against something. Laid on the ground for a minute composing myself before “walking it off” and chuckling a bit. Went to work balancing coming up with several completed pieces. Lighting wasn’t ideal, but I did the best I could. Eventually I was stiff enough to head home. Time for a little therapy to help with the bumps and bruises -Cheers
Laurel Hill State Park
Didn’t make it to the park until around noon. Kinda glad I killed an extra pot of coffee because there was ice lingering on the “prime” location that caught my eye. It wasn’t too far off the beaten path, actually just below the spillway of the dam. Found the rocks to be rough and not polished. Blocky, not round. It posed a different set of challenges than normal, but in the end I managed a couple balances. Not a bad spot for photos, lots of cool top rocks. Now just to hone my skills on this texture and style of stone. Stay tuned 🙂