Tom Dancer’s Gift of a Whitebark Pine Cone
by Mary Oliver

You never know
what opportunity
is going to travel to you,
or through you.

Once a friend gave me
a small pine cone –
one of the few
he found in the scat

of a grizzly
in Utah maybe,
or Wyoming.
I took it home

and did what I supposed
he was sure I would do-
I ate it,

how it had traveled
through that rough
and holy body.
It was crisp and sweet.

It was almost a prayer
without words.
My gratitude
to you, Tom Dancer,

for this gift of the world
I adore so much
and want to belong to.
And thank you too, great bear.