The Woman Pot


The Woman Pot as it looks today… since that time one more woman has added a plant!


Curious Bb looking in the window!


Last summer when I returned to Maine I was very homesick for Abiquiu. I had collected a couple of succulents to bring home with me. The first was a string of pearls that I got from the office of the veterinarian in Santa Fe who saved my dove, Lily b, from dying after he had been mauled. I treasured those pale green pearls. At Thanksgiving my friend Sabra let me have a couple of rosettes that I also planted. And in the spring while caretaking Iren’s plants I brought back another spikier rosette that had fallen away from the mother plant and a tiny piece of jade plant from her beautiful solarium. All of these were placed in individual pots.


All the plants thrived! By the time I returned to Maine I decided to pot all my succulents into a rectangular clay pot along with another succulent that I received from a woman in Maine and a couple of other rosettes I had collected myself.


One July morning I sat outside in the shade with various pots scattered around. I heard a rustling sound behind me. My yearling male bear, Bb appeared, materializing through the forest veil and was approaching his seed can that was about 15 feet away from where I was working. He let out an annoyed “huff” and slapped a nearby pine letting me know that he wanted me to return to the porch while he snacked.

Normally I acceded to his wishes but I had pots scattered everywhere and knew if I re- entered the house he would be unable to resist coming over to see what I was up to. My plants would be toast!


So I spoke to him quietly. “I’m going to sit right here until I finish repotting and then dear friend I will leave you to your seed.” Bb behaved as if he understood every word. Instantly he lay down on the shady ground he began munching his seed as I continued my project. Every now and then I would turn around to watch him, this beloved bear of ‘mine’. We worked companionably for the next half an hour, with Bb eating and me repotting. True to my word, as soon as I was finished I turned to him and remarked, “I’m done and I am going into the house, thank you for your patience”. Bears, I knew from experience, liked to hear my voice and appreciated words of respect. In seconds Bb bounded down the hill to investigate the empty pots I had left to collect later. Bears are incredibly curious.


Once in the house, I admired my handiwork, so pleased that all these plants were going to live together because plants enjoy each other’s company just like humans do. For the rest of the summer all my plants thrived! I had to keep cutting some back to keep the slower growing rosettes from becoming overwhelmed.


It wasn’t until the end of the summer when Bb’s visits became nocturnal due to hunting pressure that I recognized that this one pot was special in two ways. The first was because all it’s plants had come from women. The second because Bb had allowed me to finish re –potting my new creation in peace. Bb was initially named after someone else. It was months before it occurred to me that Bb was the nickname I had been given as a child. So this woman, her plants, and her bear are related if not through blood, then through naming!


For the rest of my days I will associate this pot with women I care about and a bear that I love.