You are here

Back to top

Stack Stones on Your Desk, Not in Nature

Desktop Stone Stacking Kit from Running PressThe Rock Balancing Guide, by Travis Ruskus

     <----------- YES!                                                               NO!---------->

One thing that can really get Sedona Nature Lovers to temporarily lose their customary love and compassion balance is...well, balance! Specifically, finding stacks of balanced rocks that people have created throughout the backwood forests and red rock cliff shelves of our beloved trail system. Buddha Beach along Oak Creek and the approach to Bell Rock usually have large clusters of them, but individual ersatz cairns can be found all over.

Many locals just quietly kick them over wherever they find them while hiking, redistributing the rocks to their rightful positions. Others turn to the Sedona groups on Facebook to decry the practice.

"Think twice about stacking stones when you visit Sedona."   "I am the one who knocks down your stone stacks at Buddha Beach. Leave nothing but footprints applies to more than just garbage."   "Don't people have anything better to do than ruin the forest?"    "So now we get to see more of these all over the national forest depriving Mother Nature of her natural flowing expression?"    "STOP. STACKING. ROCKS. Stop stacking rocks, you ego-ridden wanks. Just stop it."

It's not just peevishness that stirs people up. While it may just look like miles of dirt and stones, the Red Rock soil is actually a very fragile ecosystem. The top layer is formed over many long years, creating a hard crust known as cryptobiotic soil which helps the life of the forest flourish and prevents erosion. People can also unknowingly disturb ancient indigenous sites.

So while many people argue that the practice is a form of meditation, causes no harm, and the rock stacks can be taken apart, in truth the very act of moving the rocks from their original position causes harm, and the reality is, most people do not dismantle their stacks. Last July, Watkins Press published The Rock Balancer's Guide: Discover the Mindful Art of Balance, by Travis Ruskus. Sorry, Travis, but I refused to bring it into the store, even though you do include a chapter on how to "let go and destroy the balances you have created, leaving nature in a pristine state," because the reality is you can NEVER return it to a pristine state.

But now, the good folks at Running Press have created the perfect solution: Stone Stacking: Build Your Way to Mindfulness. This little kit contains nine hematite stones of various tiny sizes, a little beechwood tray and bag of sand, along with a little pocket guide to stone stacking. It is meant to sit right on your desk or your alater, where you can stack and practice mindfulness to your heart's content without upsetting nature and the people who love it.