The following was written by my Hubby, during his stay in Thailand.

I saw a coconut in the water today. The incoming surf would push it towards the retaining wall only to be pushed back again by the previous waves returning from the unyielding wall. The wind was also exerting its influence, steadily driving the coconut down the coast. In, out, over- again and again seemingly without pattern but relentlessly making progress in the same direction along the wall.

Eventually it came to an abutment that frustrated the wind’s intent and attempted to contain the coconut’s movement. Here, the incoming waves gained advantage due to the confined space and drove the coconut repeatedly into the wall. The coconut, not yet ready to give up, hardened itself and took the blows over and over again without breaking. Eventually the ocean, frustrated, threw a particularly hard wave at the coconut, trying to prove its strength and finally crush it against the wall. Who was this coconut anyway, thinking it could prevail against the might of the sea? The retaining wall, having put up with the relentless battering of the ocean long enough absorbed the impact and used the wave’s own power to throw the coconut out past the abutment where the wind had waited calmly and knowingly for the chance to continue its benevolent influence. The coconut, relieved to be out in the open again, gave itself up to the wind and sailed past the protrusion and back on its path down the coast.

Under the water, a school of fish swam lazily along the sea bed looking for food, oblivious to the drama unfolding above them. Above the froth, the gulls circled in the wind, constantly watching the surface of the water for signs of the fish rising to within reach of a well-placed dive. Along the retaining wall and under the waves the sand kept shifting, looking for freedom and the opportunity to move with the current. In doing so, it was secretly and collectively eroding the footing of the retaining wall, weakening it unseen until the day the wall would suddenly and spectacularly lose purchase and finally give way to its enemy the ocean. Even the mortar between the rocks making up the wall conspired with the sand to weaken the joints. It felt more kinship with the sand and longed to be free again as single grains rather than subservient to the arrogant and unyielding rocks, tasked with holding them in place as they did battle with the sea.

The coconut waited out the day, retaining its composure against all that the waves, walls and wind could throw at it. It took pride in its strength and unyielding nature allowing it to meet all attacks undamaged. It cared little that it had no control over where it was going or how long it would take- it just wished to survive and protect the seeds and nourishing milk and flesh it held inside as long as it was able. It knew its task was to persevere until the day it found itself in a suitable spot to decompose and release its seed into a patch of sand capable of sustaining the burgeoning plant after its own resources were consumed, beginning its own journey.

I saw a coconut in the water today. As I looked at it, I felt that sometimes I was just like it, being pushed this way and that by forces too strong to resist. Should we even try? Unlike the coconut, we are able to harness the wind and move against the waves in whatever direction we want. We can even use the wind in a clever fashion to head steadily into it with its own force. These are now considered basic principles of sailing but were surely world-changing discoveries when first harnessed. We don’t have to ride the breaker into the wall again and again hoping for salvation from a stronger outside force. But where do we steer to? Do we go east or west, north or south? Maybe the wind and the tide sometimes know better where we need to go and should we just follow their influence for a while. But how long and where to take back conscious control?

I saw a coconut in the water today. I waded out and took it back to an empty lot where I half buried it in the sand. I figured it had better chance there than being smashed against a retaining wall. Maybe someday it will be a coconut plant and the world sure could use more coconut plants.

2 thoughts on “Coconut

  1. I would rather be a coconut than a snow flake in Aachen, Germany. As a coconut I have a chance to live on as a tree but a snow flake in Germany I just melt and I´m history. Nice, Ralf!


  2. Hey Dad,

    You probably shouldn’t have taken that coconut out of the water! What if you’ve disrupted the entire balance of nature and bring down the wrath of the planet on us? Maybe that coconut was MEANT to be smashed to bits!

    LOL 😉


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