Yesterday I was fitted for my new full-length leg brace. Although it was held together with makeshift parts, I went for a walk to test it out. The odd thing was that I LIKED it. Sure, it made clicks every time I took a step, and, yes, I did walk with even more of a limp. It may, also, not fit under some of my slacks. All of that, and more, is true. However, what is also true is that my knee could not buckle when I had the new brace on! What a relief!
I have not had a full leg brace since I was eight, as I quickly outgrew the need for them post Polio. Returning to a full bracing is a strange experience, a going back in time and emotional memory that is more than a little unnerving. Like much that arises from Post Polio Syndrome, I find myself firmly situated both in the present and the past. Perhaps this awareness of the confluence of past and present is the human condition, a state we seek to mitigate through art and meditation.
It seems to me, based on experience, conversation, and reading, that many Indigenous people share my experience of the present as filled to the brim with myth, history, and Ancestors, all very much alive and shaping this very moment. Epochs overlap, forming compression, amalgams, and concretions, supporting metaphors based in the geological. I believe those fuzzy memories of full-leg braces, the ones that seem half-visual and half-kinesthetic, occupy a more immediate ground that also troubles the personal. Still, there is an undercurrent of hope running through the jumble of emotions, memories, and sensations, and the distinct possibility that regression will indeed be in the service of life and healing. We shall see.