Rosy Morning (poem and painting)


Rosy Morning
watercolour on paper

a sliver of time before sunrise

wild buds burst open as if in surprise

raise dainty little heads in expectation

turn motley bright heads in exaltation

eastward into the early haze gazing

at the rising sun on a rosy misty morning


© Cindy Lapeña, 2011

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Sunflowers (poem and painting)


watercolour on paper

all across the fields in summer

sunflowers raise their heads

following the sun’s unmatched splendour

challenging Horus with golden crowns glowing

filling the island with bright gleaming orbs

millions of sunrises and millions of sunsets

the short-lived sunflowers

enrobe the red land

giving short-lived summer

the seasonal upper hand


© Cindy Lapeña, 2011


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365 Things to Look Forward to-Number 13: A new bloom


13. A new bloom

I have never had a green thumb. The best way plants grow with me is when I generally leave them alone. This is usually the case, since I am terrible at remembering to water them. So, unless they can grow on a low budget, with whatever earth I have in a pot or find around or dig up, and whatever water I remember to give them, and whatever sunlight they can get from wherever they happen to grow, then plants had better leave me alone.

It’s a completely different story, of course, when I receive a plant.

Someone gave me a fortune plant a couple about three years ago. As far as I know, they are a hardy bunch and not very easy to kill. Somehow, mine died. Don’t get me wrong. I didn’t deliberately abandon it. It just sort of shrivelled away and died after several months. I think it didn’t like getting moved about too much, which is what happened when I had to move to a new place. But I think I either over-watered it or forgot to water it. I forget which.

On my birthday, someone gave me a tiny little rose bush in a wee pot. It have five pretty rose blossoms (okay, four and a bud) on it and was the prettiest thing ever. I know I was happy to get it, but at the same time, I was somewhat dismayed because I was so worried it would just die on me, like most of my other plants. Especially the ones I tried to take care of.

My birthday roses from Angela J.

Naturally, I couldn’t just abandon this pretty little plant that had been entrusted to my care. And so I began taking care of it. At first, I just kept on watering it. The leaves turned a bit yellow-green, instead of the nice rich green they were. I remembered something about over-watering and leaves turning yellow. I also realized it might be a good thing to take the wrapping paper (which was really plastic) away. Of course, the paper was full of water. With paper gone, the little plant improved a bit. I figured about an ounce or two of water a day would do. About three or four days after, the water just drained straight into the saucer I had put the pot on. Too much water. I cut watering down to every other day.

Then the bugs came. Tiny little creatures that deposited a white fuzz and little green and black spots on the backs of the leaves. A quick trip to my Practical Problem Solver book told me they were likely little mealy bugs or some other sort that like rose plants. I also learned I could get rid of them by wiping rubbing alcohol on the leaves with a piece of cotton. That pretty much got rid of most of the bugs. But there were some I either couldn’t find or were really good at evading me, because after a couple of days, there were white web-like threads on the edges of the leaves and more green-black spots on some of the leaves. The leaves were also getting horribly blotchy and dried too.

This time, I tried another remedy: the soapy water trick. I filled an old squirt bottle with soapy water and sprayed the leaves of my plant, as well as the branches and the soil. That finally got rid of all the bugs, but I was left with a plant that looked more dead than alive. My only hope was a few sturdy green leaves. The rest looked like they were doomed, and so they were. I figured that it would be such a shame to let this pretty gift plant die, and so began battle to save my rosebush.

My little rosebush has the best window seat on the floor beside my balcony windows, where it can get sunlight from when the sun rises to when it sets, almost. When there is sunlight, that is. So I open my blinds every morning to let whatever sunlight there is come in for my little rose bush. It got a full trim, all the dried leaves taken off when they were completely dried. A weekly soapy bath for a couple of weeks, then a regular soapy spray of the soil, which is covered with the dried leaves and prunings for mulch, have kept the pesky bugs away.

It wasn’t long before tiny new leaves started sprouting everywhere. The old leaves went a few at a time. Finally a bud showed, and when it was near opening, another bud showed! The first rose didn’t have several layers of petals like the original flowers that came with the rosebush, but it was a rose! And now, as its petals are curling backwards and getting ready to drop, the new bud is starting to open. Moreso, it does look like it has the same lush layers the original flowers had.

I’d been wanting to start an herb and flower balcony garden but didn’t trust myself around plants enough….now, I’m actually excited about the possibility of maintaining a blooming balcony garden!

old rose, new rose



365 Things to Look Forward to: Number 3 – A walk on a pleasant day


3.  A walk on a pleasant day.

One of the things I do look forward to is taking a walk on a pleasant day. There is nothing like the gentle warmth of the sun caressing you while a mild breeze keeps your hair away from your face. Or mine, because I have long hair. But the breeze in your hair and on your skin keeps you cool as you walk.

Because I cannot take long or brisk walks, I am forced to walk at a slower pace than most people, with occasional pauses or periods of slowing down to almost a crawl. But, precisely because of this, I am able to luxuriate in the wind, enjoy the sunshine and see the little things that most people miss.

I love watching butterflies winging their way to flowers, birds squabbling on grassy lawns, the leaves of clover and other weeds intricately woven into lush green lawns after a rainy day. I see the minute lines and creases in the barks of trees,  how all leaves on a tree are practically all the same, save for some stray vein or creased corner or different-colored spot.

I see the cracks and lines in the pavement, tiny ant hills and ant holes loosening the red earth into separate grains, insects and other creatures with unknown names and unknown number of legs scurrying, crawling, slithering, or slinking their way across your path.

I see the rich red earth, uncountable stones and pebbles and clods of soil, variations of red, maroon, brown and black…and then again, mainly red.

I see clouds in all kinds of shapes and formations. Herringbone, sheep, cotton buds and stretched cotton, spirals and lines, rows and clumps, massive towering blobs of shaving cream  and fluffy bits of foam and fiber. Solid waves or sheets or cushioned.

Only some of the things I savour on a stroll on a pleasant day.