A grey brick chimney forms the center of our home. A wood stove backed up to the fireplace opening provides our heat. The hearth, quite literally in our case, is the heart of our home.
Above the wood stove is a clock. Aries made it from a slice of redwood burl his dad gave him - sanding and buffing the prettiest side, hollowing out a space in back to hold the clockworks, gluing numbers on the face.
The wood of the clock completes the balance of our hearth - the earth chimney, metal stove, fire within, water in the teapot and steamer. There's one more element there too - the guardian of our hearth.
From his perch to the left of the clock face, many don't even realize he's there. Most of the year, and especially cold winter mornings, he blends right in with the grey brick behind. During the winter, though, when the stove is going, the rising warmth makes him turn a bright green color. Though still somewhat in the shadows, he's there to protect the wall from falling (nice thought, in an seismically active area) and guard our hearth from evil (also nice to have).
He found me on one of my walks with the dog, accompanied us home, and has found a home above our hearth ever since. Though some may call him a gargoyle, more properly says he, he's a grotesque - since he lives inside the dwelling and has never functioned as a drainspout. Also, completely proper, he has wings, and so can patrol the rest of the house for us during the dark of night. We can rest easy, knowing he's there to protect our home.