“All of the animals except for man know that the principle business of life is to enjoy it.” — Samuel Butler
Travels With Maggie
Boston has a lot of statues, the most notable probably being the one of George Washington in Boston Commons. My favorite is much less majestic. It’s the weather-worn statue of St. Francis tucked away in a small downtown walkway between streets.
St. Francis, a 12th century Catholic friar, is best known as the patron saint of animals. It was this knowledge that drew my attention during a walking tour of Boston (yesterday’s blog). In fact, I might not even have seen the statue if it hadn’t been for the house sparrows perched on the unobtrusive sculpture with its back up against a brick building.
Being an avid birder, I never miss seeing birds.
I grabbed for by camera, not wanting to miss such an appropriate photo of birds paying homage to the patron saint of animals. Big mistake. My movement scared all the birds away. The sole one remaining was the one the sculpture had created to sit on St. Francis’ shoulder.
I snapped the picture anyway. Later, where comparing St. Francis to the photo I had taken of George Washington sitting proudly astride his horse in the city’s public gardens, I saw the extreme disparity between the two.
Now while I respect our country’s first president and approve of his prominent position on a pedestal in Boston’s most popular park, the modest image of St. Francis, who loved animals, touched my heart. And that’s why it’s my favorite Boston statue.