A Home Spun Hearth Stone

By , November 12, 2011

Thursday, Michelle came home for a brief visit in the middle of the day. She brought a package I’ve been eagerly awaiting for a long time. Inside: a rock.

I have a Canadian friend with whom I’ve corresponded for years. We “met” through a mutual interest in boat building. He’s an adventurous sort, with an artistic bent. A while ago he began teaching himself stone carving, and has become quite good in a short amount of time. We have talked on and off about him carving something into one of the many erratics, large boulders left by the glaciers that created Lynn Canal, that decorate our property like standing stones.

One day, while crossing our home-built stone hearth, I knocked one of the corner stones loose. That somehow led to a rather quixotic plan.

We hauled the rock out to the car when we packed up Aly’s gear to take her to college. While passing through Canada, we took it to a Post Office and mailed it to my friend in Alberta. Some time later, I emailed him a design I’d drawn, a spray of devil’s club, and he carved it into the stone. Then, he mailed it back.

devil's club hearth stone

The newly carved hearth stone in place. The cement has yet to dry (Photo: Mark Zeiger).

This stone, originally chosen from our beach, is now pretty well-traveled. And, as many travelers find, it has returned home considerably improved, with far greater character than it had when it left.

My friend, as is his nature, was self deprecating, and not entirely happy with the results of his work. I doubt we could be happier. Sure, if we analyzed it critically, we could find flaws, but consider the setting of the stone, if you will. A highly professional job would look out of place in a hearth built by hand by amateur homesteaders. His homespun effort perfectly complements our homespun hearth.

Michelle came home for the weekend Friday morning, and we spent much of the day re-installing the stone in its place. We think it looks fantastic!

Devil’s club is, among many other things, a symbol of home protection. A fitting emblem for our homestead, particularly as executed by a self-taught stone carver as an act of friendship.

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