Compass: Western Sage

Hello, there! In past articles, I have explained places and scenes, but this week, I’ll talk about an underrated scent. In the West, there are many dry landscapes as you may know. These dry landscapes spread for miles and then end in sandy-looking hills. Some places have plateaus while others exhibit hills of many heights.

Many of the scenes are a mix of brown and green, depending on where you drive. The most beautiful feeling is driving down the highway in the dark with no one else on the road with some good music blaring. The best way I can explain the landscape and the feeling associated with it--for me, at least--is Radiator Springs from Cars. You might know that scene where Lightning McQueen and Sally are driving down to that car hotel in the first movie, winding down the back roads. That scene is how it felt, free and beautiful.

Along the landscapes are plants that grow in bundles. They only get to be about mid-calf and are no bigger than a heaping handful. Clusters of this plant grow alongside the road; sometimes, there are even small fields of clusters. They are a pale green that, from the distance, look like blades of grass, but they are not grass. They kind of look like mint leaves. These wonderful plants are called Sage.

This scent is sweet and sort of like rosemary; Sage is technically in the mint family. It has a slight woody and piney smell to it, but not overwhelmingly so. Maybe the best way I can explain it is this: musty mint.

Personally, Sage is one of my favorite smells, partly because the smell is nice, but also because I associate it with road trip memories. Many times while my family drives out West and we enter a place on the road where the smell of Sage is evident, we stop on the side of the road and pick some leaves. The leaves keep their scent for a few days, so we stuff them in our pockets and smell them whenever we need a smile.

I don’t have any pictures this week, especially since I’ve described a smell, but if you’re curious about what Sage looks like, you can always look it up. I love the smell of Sage and if you ever have the chance, you should stop and pick some leaves to smell. Thank you for traveling the country with me this week!