MAN SETS 'EM UP, PHYSICS DOES THE REST.
Byline: Gary Warth North (San Diego San Diego (săn dēā`gō), city (1990 pop. 1,110,549), seat of San Diego co., S Calif., on San Diego Bay; inc. 1850. San Diego includes the unincorporated communities of La Jolla and Spring Valley. Coronado is across the bay. ) County Times
Samuel Smalley has a rocky approach to tranquillity.
``It's a form of meditation,'' Smalley says. ``When you're balancing a rock that big, you have to totally concentrate on it. All the other stuff going on in your life goes away.''
Smalley rolls up his sleeves and shows the scratches and scars that can happen when he doesn't concentrate.
``If that rock falls Rock Falls, city (1990 pop. 9,654), Whiteside co., NW Ill., on the Rock River opposite Sterling; inc. 1867. It is an industrial center in a farm region with corn, soybeans, cattle, and hogs. Electronic equipment, feeds, and plastics are manufactured. on you, you get hurt,'' he says. ``It's not risk-free.''
But when things go right, the results are amazing a·maze
v. a·mazed, a·maz·ing, a·maz·es
1. To affect with great wonder; astonish. See Synonyms at surprise.
2. Obsolete To bewilder; perplex.
v.intr. . People driving down Highway 101 in south Encinitas between restaurant row and South Cardiff State Beach have been known to hit their brakes and jump out of their cars with a camera to capture Smalley's work.
That's not a bad idea, considering that Smalley's work is not meant to last. Smalley balances large rocks in seemingly impossible formations on other rocks, and chances are they will not stay that way for long.
Smalley says he has seen the rocks stay up for as long as a week, but inevitably they will topple. Sometimes people walking by will deliberately nudge them, perhaps testing to see if there is some trick involved.
There isn't, other than Smalley's background in physics and geometry.
There must be three points on the tip of the rock being balanced, he explains, and the center of gravity must be placed precisely on the base he is stacking upon.
Sometimes Smalley will place a smaller rock on top to counterbalance the larger one, a trick that requires him to call out for an extra hand from anyone who might be passing by.
Small stacks of balanced rocks have become a common sight lately. But don't be fooled. Smalley says he usually waits until those lesser attempts have fallen before he goes to work because he does not want them to distract from his designs.
His versions stand out from the others fairly easily. For one thing, not everybody can lift the rocks Smalley uses.
``This one weighs at least 200 pounds,'' he says, looking over some snapshots of his work. ``I like stacking that one a lot.''
It also helps to be a weight lifter weight·lift·er or weight lift·er
One who lifts heavy weights for exercise or in an athletic competition.
weight lifter n → levantador(a) m/f de pesas , he admits.
Smalley, a 30-year-old construction engineer, first saw somebody balancing rocks The Balancing Rocks are a geological formations in Matobo National Park, in Matabeleland, Zimbabwe. It is a formation of rocks perfectly balanced without other supports. behind Seaport Village Seaport Village is a shopping and dining complex overlooking the bay in San Diego, California. It houses more than 70 shops, galleries, and eateries on 90,000 square feet (0 m) of waterfront property. off San Diego Bay Noun 1. San Diego Bay - a bay of the Pacific in southern California
San Diego - a picturesque city of southern California on San Diego Bay near the Mexican border; site of an important naval base
Pacific, Pacific Ocean - the largest ocean in the world . But he didn't try it himself until he was camping on a surfing trip in Mexico and was looking for Looking for
In the context of general equities, this describing a buy interest in which a dealer is asked to offer stock, often involving a capital commitment. Antithesis of in touch with. a way to pass the time when the waves were flat.
Smalley says he still stacks rocks when the waves are flat in Encinitas, but usually he plans his projects in advance, going out once every few weeks.
Other people who have perfected rock-balancing have found ways of cashing in on their skill. At least one person does inspirational talks at schools, and another accepts tips while working.
Photo: (1) Rocks balanced by Smalley silhouette the hori zon along Highway 101 in Encinitas.
(2) Samuel Smalley works late into the afternoon balancing rocks along the coast in Cardiff by the Sea, in Encinitas, Calif.
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