Why would my mother, a devout Christian and aged parent, choose incense rather than a can of aerosol spray that smells like pie? I'll tell you. It's because she's a hippy.
My parents met in the 70's, in what was likely a cloud of marijuana smoke. They dated while working in a psych ward and then married on a rug in the forest. My dad wore black silk bellbottoms with a star on the crotch. These are the people that raised me.
A great deal of federally controlled substances and Jimi Hendrix albums later, they got saved. So, by the time I was born, there were relatively few traces of the hippy lifestyle left. Or so I thought. In retrospect, they primarily got rid of the drugs and the music. My young childhood was a compilation of Amy Grant singing in Hebrew and Michael W. Smith, interrupted for brief homages to Smoke on The Water or Whipping Post. We weren't allowed to listen to the Beatles, but by gosh, we were to respect them.
There was also a cyclical denying of the system, in which my mom would stop wearing business suits and start growing vegetables and denouncing the grid. They'd do this every few years, and eventually the grid would win, because of computers. Occasionally, the system would throw us, and we'd sort of involuntarily be off the grid for a little while, eating feasts of brown rice and beans and thick buttered cornbread. When we were poor, we ate the best.
In my tiny private school, I obeyed the rules, mostly. None of us listened to secular music or did anything "worldly", at least in the early years, but I think I was the only one who went home to a guy quoting Asimov. We loved Jesus, and we did spiritual warfare, and we were deep in our faith, but the wildness was always there, always a part of it.
We're wildflowers, really. We never fit, exactly. We grow, and we're beautiful, in our own way- sometimes more beautiful, in my opinion, because of the passion and the LIVING. And that's a gift.
So for a few more days, I'll sleep in this guestroom at the house my mama is blooming at right now, and then everything will change, and it will be scary for a minute, until the guitars and the pinto beans and the incense start up again in a new place, and it will be good.