Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Odd Things We Need

I’ve always been an incense burner, or at least since my adolescent years. I fell in love with the stuff early on and it never let me go. During my teens, I had a rather large collection of it. There was incense for relaxing, incense burned for specific scents (coconut and other fruity concoctions) and incense I needed while I read or wrote.

Burning incense while writing was always a big deal for me. It helped set the mood, and I often found myself more able, or at least more eager, to cultivate new ideas while sitting inside a light, perfumed cloud.

There was one incense I loved more than the others, one I bought from a head shop in my hometown that sold handmade jewelry, tie-dyed clothes, Spiritual Sky oils and (according to the older kids who always seemed way cooler than I) pot. Once the head shop changed ownership and the merchandise was rotated, I could no longer find it there, and over the years I forgot the name of it. All I could remember was that it came in either a purple or dark blue box, in small quantities, and it smelled unlike anything else I had ever had. I burned it as much as I could while I had it, and once it was gone it seemed to be gone forever.

Every time I found a place that sold incense, I’d look for it, but the only thing that came in a blue box like that was Satya Sai Baba Nag Champa, a wonderfully-scented (and possibly the most well-known here in the States) stick that I enjoy to this day but isn’t, sadly, the incense of my teenaged memories.

I found it, recently, while browsing an online incense shop. There are photos for each listing, and I carefully scrolled through, trying to find a match to that old rectangular box of memory. And there it was.

It’s from Padmini, and it’s called Spiritual Guide.

I have a stick burning right now, and all the old memories are coming back. The trashy horror novels with half-naked vampires on the covers, my obsession with Dell Abyss titles, the notebooks I’d scribble obsessively in and carry around on my person as if escorting a precious artifact from one danger-filled location to another. I was such a dork, and it was such a wonderful (if strange and occasionally painful) time.

I’m going to be working my ash-dusted wooden burner overtime today, just to overload myself on nostalgia. Perhaps I’ll write 3500 words of bloodsucking narrative today in celebration, as well.

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