December 08, 2009

AIDS Memorial Grove, Golden Gate Park

click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney

After reading the most wonderful post about Mike on I Live Here, S.F. I felt I had better get over to the National AIDS Memorial Grove and pay my respects.

Personally, I haven't lost any close friends to AIDS so I guess I am either lucky or a bit short of friends.   And in fact, I didn't know a whole lot about the epidemic until I read "And the Band Played On" in the late '80's.   Oh, I suppose I still don't know a whole lot about AIDS, but what I DO know is that I have an abundance of compassion (((for what it's worth))) for those who are now sick, and of course for those who have died.

click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney

According to the official website, this is a dedicated space where those touched directly or indirectly by AIDS can gather to heal, hope, and remember.

The names carved is an intimate mixture of those who have died and people who have paid a fee to sponsor someone.   If you look closely near the lower left corner on this photo you will see the name of Calvin Simmons (((Simmons died in a 1982 canoeing accident at the age of 32, so I'm guessing that if this is the same Calvin Simmons who was the orchestra conductor the donation was made posthumously))).   (((My sincere regards and apolgies if this is another Calvin Simmons who has died)))

And on the first photo you can find the name of Linda Gates name at lower center -- oh, I know it's a fairly common name but I'd like to think that Bill's better-half gave a donation. (((My sincere regards and apolgies if this is another Linda Gates who has died))) EDITORS NOTE:   Clarity has returned to my soggy brain and now I realize that Bill's wife's name is Melinda, not Linda -- but it was a good story, wasn't it?

click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney

This area is officially titled the National AIDS Memorial Grove -- located roughly behind the California Academy of Sciences, at Middle Drive E. and Bowling Green Drive.   The entrances are fairly low-key, with stairways that lead down to the sunken area studded with redwoods.   It's an absolutely beautiful area.

click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney

Before arriving at the Memorial itself, I made a big loop of the area.   Like I mentioned, it's an absolutely beautiful area.   I understand that the area used to be used as a homeless encampment -- and in fact it still is -- I passed by a little camping spot along the fence-line on the ridge above the area.

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tangobaby said...

Hi Donald,

Thank you for this lovely post. I'm so glad you got down to the Grove (next time, email me so I can meet you there!). Isn't it such a beautiful place? There is a thicket where a little family of quail live and I've seen them several times. I just don't have a good enough lens yet to take photos of them.

But mostly, I'm glad you went there and are sharing this special place with your readers. I'm surprised to see how many people didn't know it was there, but then again I discovered it on accident myself.

And thank you for the comment on Mike's i live here:SF post. He's a wonderful guy and a really good photographer. I know he'll appreciate what you wrote.


photowannabe said...

I didn't know this memorial was there either. It looks lovely and a beautiful tribute and reminder of a savage disease.

Rhett Redelings said...

I had a similar impulse after reading the same blog but had my hands rather full this last week. Still, it's a beautiful place with a sacred and deeply sad kind of feel that you've captured and refracted beautifully. I must get myself there soon. Thank you.

Tomate Farcie said...

I also very much enjoyed this post, though I didn't know what to say at first. My favorite shot in the series is the one with the dead flowers in the middle of all these names.

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Elliott Broidy said...

These are absolutely beautiful and touching. Thanks for sharing.

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