Sweetgale

In sweetgale fumes,
there is a weight
of backpacks filled.
There’s anticipated mountain views,
at the beginning of a treck.
There is a miry softness,
in my gait,
a sound of breaking twigs,
mosquitos’ song and
far away a mumbling stream
in sweetgale scent.
There is a sound of rain
on nylon tents, the rush of rapids
and taste of cloudberries;
and there is you and me alone
in sweetgale smell.

Vistasvagge - Photo by me

Vistasvagge – Photo by me


Today Kelly is bartending at dVerse, and she gives us a prompt on scent. How scents can make is remember, how it brings us back. Sweetgale (Myrica gale) is a small bush that grows in mires or close to streams. It gives a very specific scent that I always connect to starting a mountain trek. Below timberline there is often that specific smell from sweetgale that just follow you. Whenever I feel it elsewhere memories of the mountains come into my mind.

January 5, 2015

33 responses to “Sweetgale

  1. Excellent olfactory adventure, & strong poetic experience, brother. I envy you your health, & the ability to still hike in the mountains; I certainly miss that here, being surrounded by two mountain ranges.

  2. I feel the scents and excitement of those mountain views ~ Love this adventure and kinship specially this part Bjorn:

    There is a sound of rain
    on nylon tents, the rush of rapids
    and taste of cloudberries;
    and there is you and me alone
    in sweetgale smell.

    Safe travels ~

  3. I had to look up sweetgale after reading this. So tranquil and such a quietly romantic poem.
    the rush of rapids
    and taste of cloudberries;
    and there is you and me alone
    in sweetgale smell.
    Your photograph and the sweetgale made me want to be there and inhale that smell along with the smells of water and the scent of the cloudberries while they are being eaten. You did not describe those smells but still, your poem took me there. I could close my eyes and in my brain, smell – inhaling deeply. Alone in that wilderness with a love – perfection.

  4. I don’t think I know sweetgale (although I may be familiar with its smell, just under a different name). But there is such a feeling of both yearning, anticipation and nostalgia in your poem.

  5. Oooh, ‘a mumbling stream’, I’m back at girl guide camp trudging through forests and walking riverbanks – wondrous

  6. Beautiful. The last two lines, especially are so delicate and tender. It is clear the smell of sweetgate is very evocative for you and redolent with sweet memories.

  7. Specific smells of summer hiking..brings back memories as I haven’t hike in a while..here in Washington, the scent of grasses and trees are a bit different..wildflowers and berries are, too. But the same are the scents of the gear (sense) of freedom..and the mosquitos! Excellent, Bjorn.

  8. really enjoyed the journey through your memories of those hikes. I learned of the shrub too — very nice.

    BTW, I think you may have a typo here : “song.and”

  9. and there is you and me alone
    in sweetgale smell.

    I am not sure of the smell but, I imagine it is one that would stay with you for a long time.

    Beautiful Bjorn

  10. The weight of your pack, the heaviness and anticipation in so many ways, that first breath of freed air….thank you for the reminder while I sit here at the kitchen table.

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