The Scent of Southern California

native-grasses-and-sageEvery time I land at LAX and get into the cab, I am overwhelmed by a certain California olfactory sensation that makes me feel I have arrived. It is not the ocean, with it’s salty spray in close proximity to the airport, nor, the crappy, smoggy smell emanating from the cars in front. It is a plant called “Mugwort.” And, I think it is beautiful. The genus contains 200 to 400 varieties and it’s genus name is Artemisia. Shiva, the god of auspiciousness, is tangled into the oral history of the plant, because, it’s long tabulation of medicinal uses is so time immemorial and widespread. Butterflies, the allurement of all metaphors of metaphors, are especially drawn to feasting upon this oh-so-California native. Artemisia is sometimes called “sage,” which, it is not. But, it sure seems sagacious to us.


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