Ode to spring

Why Midtown’s Wildflower Boutique makes us giddy

Emily Hays, owner of Wildflower Boutique, clothes her daughter Charlotte in eco-friendly garb.

Emily Hays, owner of Wildflower Boutique, clothes her daughter Charlotte in eco-friendly garb.

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Ah, springtime! How it warms the soul with sunshine and frees the mind from its winter torpor, beckoning us to venture outdoors and frolic in awakened blossoms with exposed skin. It is a time of renewal for body and spirit, a time to contemplate new possibilities and modes of existence and, yes, a time to buy new clothes.

With a heightened spring consciousness, shoppers will take to the streets of Midtown and discover anew an ecologically mindful boutique—a purveyor of fineries for women and infants—where they will stumble upon natural fabrics mingled with the sweet smells of lilac and lavender and forever swear off nylon and polyester and petroleum-based blended plastics in favor of hemp and silk and bamboo.

Single women will indulge in aromatic soy candles, devoted husbands will handpick shiny baubles forged by local jewelers from recycled glass and philanthropists will support inventive handicrafts like the repurposing of soda-pop tops woven into purses.

At an upcoming fashion show, young ladies and gentlemen will behold a new aesthetic of vintage threads and high-fashion eco-fibers hanging off slender shoulders and narrow hips and titillating décolletage as nubile nymphs sashay down a runway in artistic celebration.

Indulgent grandmothers and eager mothers-in-law will find the perfect nontoxic baby-shower gifts and rhapsodize about the prospect of a life lived without exposure to developmental poisons or anaphylactic encounters with synthetic materials.

Parents will appreciate the importance of using a green bottle to feed newborns, find comfort in the hypoallergenic properties of adorable organic cotton overalls and take solace in the health benefits of bedding their infant on sheets and blankets not drenched in formaldehyde.

Farmers’ market frequenters and co-op shoppers will make the gigantic cognitive leap necessary to realize that cotton, like corn and soybeans, is subsidized and bulldozed by agribusiness monoculture to bring us inferior and less healthy clothing goods while polluting our groundwater with cancerous runoff.

Budding environmentalists will inquire about sustainable apparel and learn that one-third of a pound of pesticides is used to make a single cotton T-shirt, that most babies suck on toxic pacifiers that leach evil-sounding chemicals like bisphenol A and phthalates, that Thai women breathe denim shavings and heavy metal dyes and bleach for five cents a day so we can have “distressed,” wrinkle-free, stain-resistant designer jeans.

Sacramentans will collectively rejoice at the dawn of a cleaner and greener era, demanding higher standards for labeling clothes and greater regulation of an industry that has deported former domestic textile-mill operations and related “externalities” overseas to countries that cannot (or will not) protect their workers or pay a living wage.

Hearts will be touched by the story of a small-business owner, who at the time of her mother’s death seven years ago, stumbled upon a photograph of herself, age 2, in a field of wildflowers staring skyward in amazement and a near-identical photograph of her mother, age 2, in parallel contemplation a generation before, thus depicting a profound mother-child/nature-beauty connection that became both the store’s namesake and owner’s raison d’etre.

And finally, we the people will begin to see our dollars as votes representing not a belief in consumerism, but a belief in ourselves and our unselfish neighbors who have in mind only the betterment of this world we inhabit, where all children can be healthy and all adults can thrive and feel the spiritual calm of deep respiration.

Such is the powerful effect of fresh spring air and the thoughtfulness of everyday folks like Emily Hays, proprietress of Wildflower Boutique. Behold and be happy, for we can only hope that we never wake from these blissful daydreams that muddle fact and fancy.