Witten's office computer

Balanced Rock Sculptures on the Chicago Shoreline

This Sunday as we were walking at 57th street beach, we noticed something odd among the great limestone blocks piled along the shore to reduce erosion. Heavy chunks of limestone and concrete had been poised on top of these blocks, each balanced on one corner. There were dozens of these balanced stones. We thought these were new sculptural works fixed in place by metal rods. But when I tested the solidity of the anchoring, I discovered that these hundred-pound rocks had nothing holding them in position but gravity. The force of my hand upset the equilibrium, and I couldn't restore the rock to its balance point. I was amazed that it could be balanced so delicately with no apparent shaping of the rock.

At this point a trim, middle-aged black man appeared behind us and asked what we thought of his work. He gave is name only as Sidney. We told him his work was awesome. He said he liked to balance these rocks at various southside beaches. He wanted people to realize that balance was important in life and that one should have the patience to create it and the care to maintain it, among people as well as with things.

Click the image to see 44 photos of these stones.

The originals of the pictures shown here are have 3 megapixel dimensions and file sizes ranging from 100-140 k, like this. The pictures make great screen-saver images. Write to me if you are interested in using these for commercial or charitable purposes.

---T. Witten, June, 2004