There are two things that I really love about balancing rocks. The first is, how this simple act of balancing one rock on top of another focuses my mind and completely relaxes me.
Secondly, I love how positively people react to my rock balances. One afternoon, after I’d built quite a tall rock balance at the beach, I was sitting at some distance from it, just enjoying the peace and watching the sea when some children, which I knew to be tourists because I didn’t recognise them, rushed over towards the rock balance.
I’d heard them approaching the beach; boisterous, excited, loud, free and happy. They never saw me. I admit that I felt slightly annoyed on first hearing their voices and imagined them racing towards my balance and tackling each other to the floor, wrestling until only one was left standing – the champion who had won the right to knock over my rock balance!
Well, I’m glad to say it didn’t happen at all like that.
As they got closer to my rock balance they slowed down, moved more carefully, became quieter and calmer and gently walked all around the balancing rocks. I heard a small boy say, “Don’t anyone touch it”. They all nodded in agreement and stood in silence for a minute, looking at my balance.
Someone broke the silence with a few whispered words but I couldn’t hear what they said. Then they each stepped away and started picking up small rocks and pebbles, which they carried to a chosen spot, far away from the others.
For about 10 minutes they quietly focused on building their own rock stacks. When they’d all finished they gently walked around their friends stacks, congratulating them on their efforts and achievements. They looked relaxed and proud.
Then one of them mentioned icecream and the spell was broken. I watched as they quickly left the beach, making their way along the road towards the shop. Each one turned around at least once and looked back at the beach to check that their stone stack was still standing, just as I often do as I’m leaving the beach.
Here are some of my favourite rock balances from the last few years.