“Light and Shade” by Miguel Ochoa, 2010 World Aids Day Youth Scholarship Awardee
LIGHT AND SHADE
By Miguel Ochoa
The National AIDS Memorial Grove depicts the road that one encounters through AIDS with the light and shade that is naturally produced by the Grove. Throughout the AIDS journey, one is bound to face moments when they would like to disappear off into the shade and live in darkness.And then there are other moments that bring light and brightness back into ones life, again.
I can only imagine that living a life with AIDS would be a life filled with broken circles, broken communities, and broken lives. The circle of friends and family that you once had is now broken by those who turned their backs on you when you first notify them that you have AIDS.
There are some people out there who have no support system what so ever, and must go through the emotional, physical, and spiritual roller coaster of dealing with their new situation alone.
But I can also imagine, that when you surround yourself by those who truly do care about you, and build a new group of friends who are going through the same things as you are, the circles of your life start to mend. If you do build a group of friends to help you cope with AIDS, you are indeed lucky, as that will create a new circle and bring the light back to your life. Until there is a treatment to completely cure AIDS, the community around you, and those circles around you, will keep breaking.
The AIDS Memorial Grove represents this sorrowful cycle with its circles that are whole and other that are broken. There is even a tree that lies in the middle of a path, by the Circle of Peace, forcing people to climb over it. For me, the symbolic meaning of that one tree is that there are big obstacles that will get in our way, and one way or another, it is necessary for us to find a way to go over those obstacles, which in the end, will make us become stronger and will again bring us out into the light.