I attended Northern Arizona University. I know this means little to people born outside of Arizona, but NAU is the crunchiest of the three state universities. ASU and UofA are both powerhouse schools with PAC-10 football, Fraternity Rows, and an amazingly tan and well-groomed student body.
NAU, on the other hand, is known for its forestry program and its proximity to the Sunrise Ski Resort. One can take snowboarding as an elective at NAU, as well as partake in a drum circle virtually any night of the week. Dreadlocked hordes hacky-sack the hours away, as Jerry Garcia or Rusted Root warbles in the background. That's my alma mater.
Granted, this is a small sub-section of the population. NAU has plenty of regular folk, as well as many who openly hate the hippies I recall walking to class with a friend of mine. As she tore into her second pack of cigarettes, she glared at the patchouli-scented group and spat, "What causes people to wake up and just decide they aren't going to bathe anymore? I mean, really."
I nodded in agreement, but, I secretly wanted to be one of them. They seemed so happy in their Tibetan-knitted mittens and hemp necklaces. There was little to worry about except playing a little sack, wrestling with the dogs, and railing against the assorted injustices in the world. I suppose there was some concern regarding the acquisition of marijuana...not that I would know anything about that.
Of course, I had no idea what it really was like to be a hippie, since I was on the outside, looking in. I know enough now to see that they were just another group, not really that different from the sorority girls or the athletes or the Campus Crusaders. They were young twenty-somethings, trying to find their place in the world.
I know now that people are just that, people. We all fall on the spectrum of behaviors. For example, in comparison to some of my friends, I am crunchy. I don't use paper towels, I drive a Subaru, and I've been known to wear the occasional flowing skirt. I do yoga, believe in karma and positive/negative energy (I blend it with the Holy Spirit for my unique form of spirituality), and I make my own baby food. People often assume that I am a vegetarian.
However, I also feed my boys processed hot dogs. I prefer to run on a treadmill, listening to an iPod instead of running outside, listening to the rhythm of my beating heart. I've never considered putting Joel in cloth diapers. I have no intention of breastfeeding Joel past his first birthday. You better believe the boys are getting their immunizations.
I guess that a crunchy lifestyle is attractive, because I would like to have less toxins in my house, and less clutter in my mind. Yet, I don't see myself growing dreads or stocking up on incense any time soon.
Life's too short to try to be something you're not. It's just negative energy, ya, know?