So what’s the scent of Umeå? Do birches smell? If they do, that would be the scent of Umeå, cause Umeå and birches are so closely linked they are inseparable.
Umeå is located on the Umeå River; 15 minutes from where it reaches the Bothnian Bay, bringing huge amounts of that cold water from the vast mountains in Lappland and our westerns neighbor Norway. It used to be that the Port of Umeå was actually in the city, making the river waterfront a hectic loud place for business and travel. Not any more though. The port is now on the Bay, and for as long as most of us can remember the river waterfront in the city has been an embarrassing parking lot waiting for a better life. Oh how it has been waiting! Cause there must be a better life!
Summer 2010 the Seattle Met magazine was listing 100 reasons to love Seattle. # 63 was “We take our time”, saying “The big problem with Seattle politics, the mover-and-shaker types will tell you, it is ALL PROCESS AND ALL TO RARELY PRODUCT: nothing gets ever decided; it’s forever discussed, debated, reopened, reconsidered and finally talked to death. But that’s also the best thing about Seattle politics.” Meaning that the city is avoiding a lot of mistakes that way.
Well, you know, that quote could as easily have been clipped out of something written in Umeå, although the movers-and-shakers of my Swedish home town might not agree on that last sentence. At least not right now. Cause there was this thing about the front porch. In Seattle. And in Umeå. And the one in Umeå just got stalled again.