My inner narrator mutters to himself as Aki and I walk through an old growth forest to the beach. He forms and rejects sentences designed to describe eating ripe cloudberries. I picked them earlier, on a mountain meadow. We both agree that the low growing fruit has a complex taste: first sweet, then a fall into bitterness until the aftertaste—an almost chemical flavor that reminds us of the way a muskeg meadow smells. What rain forest folk call the cloudberry, is known as a salmon berry in Western Alaska, and Hjortron in Sweden.
I want the narrator to give drafting a rest so I can enjoy the ocean scent that strengthens as we approach the beach. I want to watch Aki maintain her serious face as she patrols ahead. I want to listen, without distraction, to the happy songs of robins and thrush. But the narrator natters on about breaking his fast with fruit the color of soft sunlight even through he started the day with coffee, a banana, and handfuls of almonds.