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August 28, 2015 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Bronzed. Red. Feverish no more.

animals of Boston carousel. Lobster seating. ALL rights reserved. Copyrighted. NO permission granted

Claw and order: ’round and ’round she goes, where she’ll stop, nobody knows. ©

Things used to be carved in stone.

Honor and courage obvious.

Remember when memorials for the military usually involved a horse, featured soldiers, or some flowing Muse?

Not this time.

ALL rights reserved for this image of sculpture in Boston. No permissions granted. Copyrighted

There is no escape. Pinned like a butterfly in a collection, you have to look at it this time.©

It’s very big. Formidable. Dark in multiple ways, this Boston sculpture was created to honor military forces (I think it was Korea or Vietnam, but not sure.)

If there had been time to capture the piece’s title or artist, I might be able to explain it. But…

Must have been the red shoes.

Red is good. You can always find your footing in red shoes.

Worked for Dorothy.

Not for me.

The art work stands in a public plaza at the front of a Federal Building of some importance.(Can you say “target”?) I’d been wandering around and around it trying to find the clue – to find out what the artist was attempting before deciding how well it was done.

The men in black suits slowly started filtering in… with dark glasses…like on “Homeland” or “Men in Black”.

Big guys like Arnold. They were talking into handhelds.

Seriously, how dangerous can I look? Red Keens for God’s sake.

OK, obviously out of place – not from the area. Didn’t get the memo about black and somber.

Seriously, it was the Spring edge of Summer. Who wears all that black? People, look in your H&M windows!

Muted for the East Coast in more ways than one.

Actually that was something of a wild goose chase. A big bird was flying in shortly carrying V.P. Biden.

So nobody gets to linger and look at tax-paid for objects. They object.

While not far away, something of real importance.

NO permissions granted for this image of Ether Monument. Boston. ALL rights reserved. Copyrighted

It’s the Ether funny! Let the kids splash in the water – it’s interactive art. ©

Now that’s a memorial: Got everything: classical, soaring height, even lions with water.

Honoring one of the greatest medical discoveries ever: the Ether Monument

Carved on one side “Never shall there be any more pain.”

Think about that. In 1868 terms.

Civil War battles and wounds still cut fresh into the public’s minds. Even in peace times, operations were tortuous and were avoided at all cost. Death was preferred.

Words on the other side: “In gratitude for the relief of human suffering by the inhaling of ether, a citizen of Boston has erected this monument.”

ALL rights reserved. NO permissions gratned to this image of the carvings on the Ether Monument, Boston

Classic: words, carved reliefs, and a story.©

“In the historic Boston Public Garden, the Ether Monument sits with its marble and granite images and inscriptions addressing universal themes: the suffering caused by war, the desire on behalf of loved ones to relieve pain, and the triumph of medical science. It is a declaration of the advancements ether brought to society….”(Journal of American Society of Anesthesiologist)

The Ether Monument is quite complex in design with symbolism and allegories.

On top is the Good Samaritan.

Carved reliefs are on the four sides of the south-facing monument. No coincidence that the north and south carvings feature a soldier in a field hospital on one side and an operation in a civil hospital on the other. The Angel of Mercy descending to relieve suffering and The Triumph of Science decorate the remaining two sides.

And then there’s the lions and the water which have historical and allegorical meanings. (More  about this complex monument: close up pictures, meanings, history, and the controversy.)

All that and a darn pretty monument, too.

ALL rights reserved for this lion /Ether Monument, Boston. NO permissions granted. Copyrighted

Who can resist a lion in a box popping out to play?©

If it’s true a society reveals itself through its’ public spaces, then I hope future generations take care of the Ether Monument. 

A step away from the dark

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.

You might also enjoy

  • “Fumbling at Your Soul: from Celestial to Chemical Ether, the Hypothesis of Anesthesia in Emily Dickinson’s Poem 315 (‘He fumbles at Your Soul’)” Poem written around 1862 during the Civil War.
  • Great vintage pictures: “Photographs of Early Anesthesia in Boston. Daguerreotypes”
  • And something weird and wonder full:the actual word “monument” stems from the Latin monere , or ‘to monitor,’ a task that physicians, especially those in the field of anesthesiology, skillfully perform. Monere also means ‘to remind’ or ‘to warn’. The (Ether) monument serves as a reminder of the great things science and medicine have contributed to humankind.” 
ALL rights reserved.This dancing tree teases people closer to the (NO permissions granted)Ether Monument right behind it. Copyrighted

This elegant dancing tree teases people closer to the Ether Monument right behind it.©








  1. marthaschaefer / Aug 28 2015 12:48 pm

    You were in Boston and didn’t stop to say Hello? I’m just an hour or so North! Love your thoughts on monuments and more, Phil!

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Aug 28 2015 1:00 pm

      I was on foot, but should have packed some hiking boots and trod that way. (Was forbidden to roller blade or bike with the lumpy streets.) It’s changed a lot from when I was little (lived in Worcester), but had a great time with perfect weather.It was something of a stealth trip, but next time, your neck of the woods looks so inviting. Thanks for traveling along

      Liked by 2 people

  2. easyweimaraner / Aug 28 2015 12:50 pm

    Oh I hope the people take good care of the Ethel Monument, Never shall there be anymore pain… that’s a message I understand.

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Aug 28 2015 1:03 pm

      Do some eras see reality and what’s important more clearly, Easy? Just stumbled on that monument after being waved over by the tree. Very kind of you tree. Grateful for the invite to the insight. PAw waves, Easy. Hope people are still happily doing well. Molly’s enjoyed a couple of 80-ish morning so she could run free and wild in a field with friends. Finally able to get off the couch! Thanks for pawsing to chat.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Kate Crimmins / Aug 28 2015 1:16 pm

    A monument to ether? Perhaps there’s one to oxycontin somewhere too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Aug 28 2015 1:40 pm

      I think that one’s called CVS. (The worshipers of it do seem to get a bit loopy, though….kinda like ether? Apparently ether parties were big entertainment in that era before someone realized it could be used for medical purposes.Story goes that a doc saw some guy fall down and really gash his head open on the stairs and didn’t feel a thing. hmmmm.Accidents are the mother of inventions? Thanks for musing along

      Liked by 2 people

  4. sportsattitudes / Aug 28 2015 5:05 pm

    Sometimes it can be a monumental task understanding the thought behind some monuments. The heart usually seems to be in the right place though…regardless of what the place actually looks like!

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Aug 29 2015 12:34 am

      Always happy when there is any sort of memorial installation for the military who are so under appreciated/recognized. I’m sure there’s a real explanation of the design if I’d only had time to find the plaque. Possibly the dark tones, the heaviness, and the distorted shapes reflected the destructive nature and brutality of war – even on those who survive.
      More monuments about big things. We don’t seem to be carving much these days.
      Thanks for sculpting a comment


  5. Ally Bean / Aug 28 2015 5:13 pm

    Huh. Never would have thought that there could be such a thing, yet there is. And those photos of early patients?! Wowsa. Such an interesting, off the beaten path, sort of topic.

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Aug 29 2015 12:37 am

      And if that tree hadn’t said, “Hey, come look at this” I would have missed it entirely. Swan boats are cool, but this monument is really unique. (And such an odd thing to think about now with all the medicines/pain management available today. Ether must have been seen as a real miracle.) Thanks for carving out a great comment.


  6. Erik / Aug 28 2015 6:07 pm

    I’m also just south of Boston. What brings you this way and for how long a stay?


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Aug 29 2015 12:42 am

      Wandering along with a medical conference for a week. Pretty impressed with what’s been done with the place and the harbor area. One of the things I remember from last time was a whole skinned cow’s head covered with flies hanging in a butcher shop window – with an open door onto the street…lots of flies. Wasn’t real sure just how civilized it was there…(I heard that – it was so not that long ago HA HA)Thanks for cobbling up a comment

      Liked by 1 person

      • Erik / Aug 29 2015 12:45 am

        One of the really cool things about Boston is that you can quite literally walk a block or two, and the entire cultural feel changes. So, while I’m not surprised about the skinned cow head, you might have found a posh restaurant not serving cow head if you’d walked another 5 minutes.

        Liked by 1 person

        • philosophermouseofthehedge / Aug 29 2015 1:03 am

          I walk pretty fast – and you are right – lots of good food (Liked the place by the harbor where the Coast Guard often eats) So many different neighborhoods. Some just like movie set, but the people are very real and quite friendly – ready to chat..and let you play with their dog or let you in to the little chapel built by hand over the years in a little alcove/alleyway between buildings. Remarkable man.The pope had been there – along with people from all over. Wish there had been time to go over to some of the islands. Ah, but always good to leave stuff for next time.

          Liked by 1 person

  7. Paul / Aug 28 2015 7:48 pm

    Statues and public art works have gotten rather imaginative recently. Here’s a big ‘un that was installed in front of our National Art Museum. Reminds me of the alien “Shadows” in Babylon 5 – Man’s last great hope – Ha! :


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Aug 29 2015 12:44 am

      That’s a terrific sculpture. I love giant ones people can walk around. Reminds me of a goth version of a big red Calder sculpture that’s here. Thanks for the artistic comment


  8. Jay E. / Aug 29 2015 1:47 pm

    I didn’t know this existed. Thanks for sharing this unique bit of history.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Aug 29 2015 2:52 pm

      It’s a stunner. Both that monument and thinking about what the discovery of way to reduce pain during medical procedures meant to that era which had just witnessed the brutal pain and suffering of war. We take so much for granted. Glad you traveled along

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Aquileana / Sep 3 2015 3:16 am

    “The Ether Monument is quite complex in design with symbolism and allegories”…
    I am nodding with you!… A paradoxical example of eclectic tributes … Haven’t we overcome Postmodernism yet!?… I doubt it! o_O
    Great post, dear Philosophermouseofthehedge!… Thanks for sharing and best wishes to you. Aquileana ⭐


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Sep 3 2015 2:39 pm

      So glad you stopped by for this one. You’d love to see it in person – such a monument – a beacon for more than it is. Thanks for carving out a comment to leave

      Liked by 1 person

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