One thing Kelly and I realized after our wonderful day Monday—less is more. Although it sounds great to see eight things in one day, it is not relaxing. Since this was Kelly’s gift I wanted it to be enjoyable for him and not take him home exhausted. So on Tuesday, October 20, we reduced our itinerary from three destinations to one. It was such a good decision!

We will make a point to see Petersen’s Rock Garden and Museum in Redmond, and Monkey Face Rock north of there another time, when we can give them the attention they deserve. From this trip alone we will have enough places we didn’t visit for several more excursions.

With that settled we slept in, puttered around the house a bit, and got coffee on our way through Sisters to Cove Palisades. The entrance to the State Park was a little more than an hour away and it was quite a distance past that to the Balancing Rocks.

As we wound along crossing and re-crossing the Crooked River, we admired the deep blue water, rock formations, and a petroglyph on display along the side of the road.

As before, having the book and online information still wasn’t enough to get us there. So we pulled over at a market at the top of the hill, bought a couple candy bars, and asked a local.

“Keep going up this road.” she said, “When you get to the end of the asphalt take a right at an unmarked pullout and you’ll find a trail. That’s it.”

It was just as she said.

We could see the river snaking below. Kelly saw a snake making a hasty exit from the trail of buff-colored gravel. Then I was on the lookout for any more on our way to the lookout. You can either view the Balancing Rocks from there or venture down the scree-covered hill for a closer look. 

Of course we went down. What incredible weight each column must hold! A sign warned us not to tamper with them lest we destroy the wonder of what took years to form. Kelly had seen on the news this actually happened a few years ago. A couple troop leaders took their scouts to see the Balancing Rocks and encouraged them to push them over! Marveling at them now we were outraged. How long it takes for a masterpiece to develop; how quickly it can be destroyed.

I was excited to find these two completely different rocks side by side

The striking serenity of the rocks made me think how beautiful and rare it is to see a life lived in balance. It’s a constant challenge to maintain a healthy equilibrium between work and play, spending and saving, time with others and solitude, talking and listening. Balance in all areas of life, and keeping a solid foundation that won’t crumble.

I admire the wisdom of a man named Agur whose prayer is quoted in Proverbs: “Give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the LORD?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God” (Proverbs 30:8-9, NIV). It’s easy to think we don’t need God when we’re doing well. When times are tough we’re tempted to despair and think God doesn’t care. But when we are thankful for what we have, our lives are balanced enough to worship Him and serve others.

It was early afternoon when we headed back for another night at Black Butte Ranch. I had surprised Kelly with a massage appointment and we planned to dress up for dinner out. The air had turned chilly so while he relaxed, I bundled for a walk to admire the fall colors. It had been a perfect day, with a much slower pace, and just what we needed.