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Monday, July 6, 2009

Behind the Bamboo Curtain


When we bought this penthouse, I fell in love with the blazing tropical sun that muscled itself into the house every afternoon. No gardener himself, the previous owner was besieged by the sun behind 2 layers of curtains. I had noted even then that it was to no avail. Where light could not get through, heat could. The sun does not spare the roofs of a penthouse.

When I moved in, I removed all the curtains except for those absolutely required to protect our after-bath selves from prying eyes. Where the view is unblocked, there are no cloth curtains at all. And I allowed the sun to romp into my home like a herd of galloping Arabian stallions. The sun's exuberance, like everything wild in nature was intimidating and uncomfortable. We needed to tame it. And tame it we did. With bamboo curtains.

The grove of bamboo outside The Husband's study has gently tamed the sun's heat without breaking its spirit. Playfully, dappled sunlight scampers into the room and makes me smile. The once hottest room has become the coolest one behind the bamboo curtain.

With the strong gusts of wind that we get way up high in a penthouse, I feared that the too tall pot of bamboo downstairs with a tiny base of a pot would simply flop over the balcony walls and plummet to someone else's death below. Seeing me about to cut the bamboo down to size, the Little Boy had an idea. He absolutely hates it when I prune the plants; and he refuses to understand that plants, like children, need to be pruned and disciplined to grow up right. So, to stop me from pruning the bamboo, he suggested that we bend two tall stems towards each other and tie them together in the middle. This forms an arch outside my bedroom door, and my room has suddenly become much cooler.

I think the magic of the bamboo lies in its ability to absorb heat and light energy to use it for photosynthesis... such that, any light that comes through loses its savageness and becomes civilized. Unlike drapes and curtains which throw a room into darkness and one's spirit into despair, a bamboo curtain plays with the light and makes the spirit glad.

Truly, there is nothing man can make, that God cannot make better... and that also means curtains.

19 comments:

Fresh Fry aka 福星 said...

Hi Petunia,

Would you like to share what kind of bamboo you use to tame our barbarian sun? it'd provide lots of reference when I'm moving house soon. thanks! =)

Blur Ting said...

I like your son. He has a good heart!

Leah said...

Wah, your metaphors and similes are amazing. I will just say "the sun is just too hot". You have a great style of writing!

petunialee said...

Fry, they're normal bamboo... not the mini sort, the sort that reaches way up high into the sky and grows in thick thickets. I dunno what they're called though. I went to the nursery and said "I want bamboo" and that was it.

petunialee said...

Yeah... my son has a bad temper and a soft heart. He was such a willful baby that he once made me cry. I sat on the sofa with tears of frustration on my cheeks. The little 3 year old waddled over patted my knee and then went and put his toys away. After that, it was great fun. Every time I wanted him to obey, I pretend to cry. He even kicks up a big fuss when I kill snails with vinegar. "Mom! How would you like someone to put you in a dish of vinegar!"

Fresh Fry aka 福星 said...

ah, the bigger version of the mini ones?

petunialee said...

Leah, thanks for the compliments. It makes me feel happy that people enjoy what I write.

petunialee said...

Fry, hmmmmmmmmm... I think there is a sort that stays mini and likes shade. Mine doesn't stay mini, and it likes sun.

Fresh Fry aka 福星 said...

hmmm......interesting. then i really gotta research more. i used to have a bamboo plant in my ex-office and the sun scorch it yellow at the tips. =)

J.C. said...

That's a nice posting. Initially I thought it was a literal bamboo rolls curtain. Eventually it was clear to me that it is the bamboo plants that form a curtain! Brilliant write-up! Wish I could see the arch in photo! Bet it looks great!

Blur Ting said...

Fry - It's the same one I have in my patio. Next week, you come, I show you.

Petunia - See, you write so well! Many people say so.

Fresh Fry aka 福星 said...

thanks alot, Blur Ting! *WIDE GRIN*

Fresh Fry aka 福星 said...

oh, i forget my manners. many many thanks for your sharing, Petunia! =)))

petunialee said...

Blur Ting, it was great talking to you the other day. Thanks for all the encouragement.

petunialee said...

J.C.... wow... what a nice thing to write about my post!! I am glad you liked it. Somehow, when people enjoy I get more motivated to write.

petunialee said...

Fry, hey gal... no worries! It didn't occur to me that any manners were lacking anywhere.

Fresh Fry aka 福星 said...

=)))))))) + *WIDE GRIN*

Fresh Fry aka 福星 said...

thanks for the picture! i finally have the rightful image in my mind. =)))

petunialee said...

You're most welcome!