Pink Carnations and the Goddess of Spring
In this post: Your Kate-Update, an Ode de Flora, and Strawberry Tart for dessert.
Spring is here at last!
Spring, as sweet as pink carnations and as fresh as strawberries. Cement holes have been worn into the 18-inch blanket of snow that graced the city a week ago, and daffodil shoots are breaking though the icy layers, promising bright colors and sweet smells to flood the days to come.
My vibrant friend, Fanny, from Ecuador, moved back in with us the first of March, so our weeks have been very full of the color she adds to every day life with her positive outlook on every obstacle and her sparkling laugh (plus it doesn't hurt having a hair and makeup artist who is fluent in massage and hot breakfast living with you either) -- A pink carnation of thanks for the people God puts in our lives.
My last day at Nicole Miller was Thursday. I will miss it. Everything about that internship was such a fairytale -- eating fillet minion across from Lindsay Lohan at NYFW, transforming real flowers into real fabric, and designing a custom dress to be worn to the Country Music Awards -- it was unreal.
My time at Nicole Miller was chock full of experience. I've learned so much -- A pink carnation for what I'll always remember.
But Spring-time calls for new adventures and so a few weeks ago I started another internship at a vintage-inspired day-dress shop in SoHo, called Archerie. I work for a woman named Jillian who has been running fashion labels for the past 25 years. Her vision for Archerie is to sell locally made, atelier crafted, wearable clothing that flatters a wide range of figures, ages, and styles.
I spend my days at Archerie darting about the garment district after Jillian, popping into her factories to deliver fabric, pick up samples, or decide which buttons go on which garment. I also work in the retail store on Thompson Street in SoHo, where I sort hang tags, organize merchandise, and make sure things are tidy and neat.
After working in the corporate world, it is so refreshing to be working in such a raw level of the industry. Jillian, with her pixie-cut and boxy black jacket, peering into "The Book," where she keeps every cutting tag for each style in production, with scribbled to-do notes and protruding swatches, is determined to keep her own hands in the pot. She isn't about trends or celebrities or double mocha skim whatever-chinos. She's about creating art -- A pink carnation for fascination.
On days that I don't have internship responsibilities, I try to do as much exploring as I can.
A few weeks ago, mom and I were back at The Met, where I came across a 12-inch sculpture of the Roman goddess, Flora. I fell in love with it immediately, and was chastised by a burly security guard for snapping a quick Polaroid.
When I got home, I scoured the internet for any stories on the impish little clay figure with flowers in her hair. There wasn't a lot to be found, but there was enough by which to be inspired, so I sat at my desk with a jar of pickles and a cup of tea and made a quick sketch and short poem to her ode.
Lupine tears fall from her eyes
blistering fingers try
vines of emerald green
arms of blue poppies fold ‘round in her dreams
Asters for ears,
yellow disks of fear
enveloped in white
never to believe lies he tells are right
Bouvardia flower mind
harnessed, yet wild
an avidity of pink satin stars
a bouvardia ardor that wanders too far
from pools of mud bud her lotus lips
in a field far away she fell into his grip
Zephyrus, the cool West Wind did send
and with wistful breath did cause her to bend
Flora, in his storm, to his deity did cling
a nymph with torn roots transformed with his ring
In his breeze she danced with lilac slippers
sweet songs of birds and West Wind whispers
He told her he loved her and other great tales
tossed skirts and loose curls set tall daffodil sails
He enthroned her in the kingdom of Spring
a nymph with new roots redeemed by this king
The nectar of clover dripped down from her crown
saccharine droplets in which she would drown
Zephyrus that carries flight to the bees
The cool West Wind that strips leaves from the trees
He left Spring for one flower, it withered in winter
He swirls through the sky while on Earth she does dither
Flora the goddess left for Hyacinth solely
Flora, the vine that dreams unconsolably
With sweet Lupine tears
And small Asters for Ears
I loved my little goddess so much, feeling especially sad to read that Zephyrus, the West Wind god, had left her for Apollo's young mentee, Hyacinth, whom Zephyrus ended up killing anyways. Then, as legend tells it, Apollo then turned Hyacinth into a flower, and Zephyrus went off on his own, leaving Flora, the goddess of spring, all alone.
Read more of the drama here.
My grandma is very good with flowers. She knows their names and what they mean. My brief obsession with Flora motivated me to learn a bit more about flowers too. They have their own language. I was really intrigued by the idea of telling a story through flowers.
Last week, my flight attendant friend from Germany, Karin, had a 24 hour layover in New York, so we met for lunch and a movie. She came bearing a bouquet of pink carnations.
In my current flower-obsessed state, it made me wonder, what do pink carnations symbolize?
If I asked my grandpa, he would burst into Marty Robin's, A White Sport Coat, recounting how my grandma had stood him up for their senior prom.
A white sport coat and a pink carnation // I'm all dressed up for the dance // A white sport coat and a pink carnation // I'm all alone in romance
Grandma, however, would say pink carnations mean gratitude, facination or “I'll never forget you.”
Yesterday was the first day of Spring, and also, quite fittingly, my grandma's birthday. My dear Lizzie, who came to stay with me in January also celebrated her birthday yesterday. I can't think of any two people better suited to mark the moment the sun crosses the equator from south to north. I think we'll let pink carnations stick with their happy meaning.
Spring is here. I have a bouquet of pink carnations on the table, and a mountain of strawberries in the fridge.
la vie est belle!
Strawberry Breakfast Tart for Three
Ingredients: 1 T butter, 1 t salt, 3/4 c w. wheat flour, 5 egg yolks, ice water, 1/2 c ricotta, lemon zest, 11/2 c strawberries Pastry -- Cut a tablespoon butter and a teaspoon of salt into 3/4 cup whole wheat flour. Add two egg yolks and mix with your fingers until you have course crumbs. Then add ice water (a tablespoon or slightly more), until the dough holds together. Roll into a quarter-inch layer on a lined baking sheet, then fold the edges up to form a rim. Filling -- Beat three egg yolks into 1/2 cup of ricotta. Spread into prepared unbaked pastry shell. Sprinkle zest from 1/2 lemon over filling and top with fresh strawberries. Sprinkle with sugar if desired. Bake at 400 F for about 20 minutes or until filling has set and crust has browned.