By Peggy O'Connell
Picture this: It’s 1968 at Piedmont High and the class bell just rang. Kids are rushing through the hallways, lockers are swinging open, and all of a sudden you smell Lodestar; you know that mountain misery smell but why - where is it? Sure enough there it is, inside a school locker, a branch of mountain misery. Seriously, who does that? A devoted Lodestar camper; that’s who!
Even though this California Native perennial, Chamaebatia foliolosa, is a sticky, pungent sap that clings to hands, clothes or anything else it touches, we all loved it for one reason. The smell. ‘Mountain Misery’s’ unique scent invokes all those positive camp memories of hiking through the foothills and romance among the trees.
So come “Back to Lodestar,” smell the smell, and bring a branch home.
FYI - The Miwok Indians made a tea from it that was taken for rheumatism, colds, chicken pox, and other diseases.
Saying it out loud, or even thinking it quietly, the name Lodestar conjures up powerful memories and reflections. And meaning.