Saturday, July 25, 2009

What do these stones mean?

Who would have guessed? Certainly not me! Sculptures and/or statues and/or memorials delighted, amused, charmed, challenged, impressed, amazed, saddened and inspired me.

I walked and walked Boston for the past four days, “on-call” but not needed by my hubby as he ran a products exhibition at a company convention.

After studying the map, I began at the Public Gardens and Boston Commons. What a beautiful beginning to my visit. I tried to take everything in—the flowers, the statue of George Washington, and the people.

I was surprised by the “Make Way for Ducklings” sculptures. They are just too cute—all different and so very appropriate in the setting, just delightful!

Moving on across the street to the Commons, I couldn’t help but stop at the wading pool and watch the uninhibited children playing and splashing in the wading pool. It made me miss my grandkids and wish that I had at least one with me.

After awhile I noticed the frogs. They made me chuckle.

Wandering a bit further I saw the Tadpole Playground.

Oh, my goodness, I could just imagine grandson Jacob playing here,

Or Seamus!

There was a dedication inscription and I imagined some dear parents donating to this play area in remembrance of their little child. I was glad for this unselfish gift.

At first, I had passed the Boston statues without reading but soon I became intrigued and went back because I wanted to read every one. Everywhere I went, I heard stories of Paul Revere. . .

and Ben Franklin.

I stopped and read and studied visually the family memorial to the Potato Famine. Remembering the reason for the large Irish population in Boston was moving.

Then at the Museum of Fine Arts, I was intrigued and impressed by the sheer size of the two bronze baby heads titled, “Day” (eyes open) and “Night” (eyes closed) by Spanish painter, Antonio Lopez Garcia. I felt an affinity to him after I read that he did these sculptures in response to his grandchildren.

And talking about size, while at Faneuil Hall, a young couple asked me to take their photo by the statue of Mayor Kevin White and then offered to take mine. I wish I had taken a moment to study the statue and get in step, and in a different position. Oh well. He must have been greatly admired to be remembered in such large dimensions! Apparently he was a very busy man.

I also loved the other large statue not far away of Coach Red Auerbach of the Boston Celtics. He was a larger than life Bostonian figure.

This is the Steaming Teapot. Be careful about tour guides because my trolley guide said that it was the location of the Boston Tea Party and then as everyone went to one side of the bus for a photo, he told us, “Just kidding.” The 200 pound Steaming Kettle was cast in 1873 and put in place over a teashop and has been there so long that it is a historical marker but one of little significance. It is fun to see and it does really steam continuously from the building's boiler room. It happens to be at the location of a Starbuck’s Coffee Shop.

I took a tour of Harvard University in Cambridge. This statue of John Harvard is somewhat interesting because of what it is not. It is referred to as "the statue of three lies." Despite what the plaque on the statue says, Harvard didn't actually found Harvard but was named after him because he bequeathed his library to the school. The school was started in 1636, not 1638. Even worse, that's not actually John Harvard! No portraits were ever found of Harvard, so Daniel Chester French (as in the Lincoln Memorial) used the son of a loved professor as his model.

This statue is of Phillips Brooks and stands right by Trinity Church. Though better known for writing, “O Little town of Bethlehem”, he also delivered the sermon at President Lincoln's funeral. I was not drawn to the statue by the way it looked but because of the inscription. Perhaps this is a man that had his priorities correct, Preacher of the Word of God. Lover of Mankind.

Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these." Mark 12:30

I have never been to a holocaust museum or memorial. I overlooked this memorial the first time I walked the Freedom Walk and thankfully had time to return to it on my last day. The steam rises around you as you stand in each of the six towers, a sure and subtle reminder of gas chambers. I read the etchings on each wall and imagined the pain.

Etched in the granite walkway of the Boston holocaust memorial is the word, “Remember” which seems to be wearing off.

Today as I was thinking of what I had seen, I was reminded of this scripture passage from
Joshua 4:4-7.

So Joshua called together the twelve men he had appointed from the Israelites, one from each tribe, and said to them, "Go over before the ark of the LORD your God into the middle of the Jordan. Each of you is to take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, to serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, 'What do these stones mean?' Tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever."


Anonymous said...

Brenda...I am almost at a loss for words....and those who know me, realize that is almost an impossibility for Jackie....but I am. Your blog is simply incredible...I love the ducks...all differently posed and following Mama...loved the history that you shared in your blog...and cried and cried as I read the inscriptions about the Holocaust. I especially was touched by Martin Niemoeller's statement. How can one not be touched by the horrors of the Holocaust. Thank you for taking the time to share your photos and dialogue with us. Your blog is very well done, Brenda.
Smiles from Jackie

Donna's Book Nook said...

What an interesting place! I didn't even know about the Freedom Walk in Boston. It is so very sad to visit holocaust memorials. I visited one in Israel. It is something you never forget (and we shouldn't!)

What a great post! Donna

Wanda said...

Beautiful post one could read it and not be moved.

Nice seeing everything through your eyes...such a mixture of sights and feelings...Wonderful!

Rebecca. Harlan, IN said...

What a wonderful experience for you - and how well you chronicled it for us! If you want a travel mate next time, let me know! There seems to be such a variety of subjects. How much of this was within walking distance of each other? I like the Philip Brooks monument...The heads of the babies looked a little strange - but maybe you would have had to be there?!

Mom/Barb said...

Brenda, Your writing compels me to go visit too.

Anonymous said...

Very well written and so interesting. I wish I could have been there with you. I am proud of you to do all that walking. Lou

Brenda said...

Everything was within walking distance except Harvard Universtiy and the Fine Arts Museum would have been probably too far to walk. I got off at both of those spots while on a Trolley Tour. The rest and much more that I did not write about was within easy walking distance. I also walked to the harbor--maybe two miles from our hotel-easy and pleasant!

Aly Beth said...

Those baby statues walk the fine line of adorable and creepy, but your pictures are crystal clear. I really enjoyed them!