The Coconut Man


I love the Outer Banks of North Carolina. My first memories are of playing in the sand underneath the houses on stilts. There is still a sense of home for me here.

There is something wild about her coasts. The sea will do what she will. You cannot tame her.

Today I watched 8 foot swell roll in from some tropical storms pushing in. I wanted so badly to get out there and surf, but I know my limits, and no amount of paddling with these little arms would allow me to not get crushed by the overhead swell.

Instead, I took a walk along the slanted, wave beaten shore. Looking at the water coming in, I saw a coconut, covered in little clams, and I  watched it roll up out of the water and tumble towards me.

A few years ago, I was on the beach in St. Kitts relaxing in the Caribbean sun with my mom, when a huge, and gentle spirited local man approached us. Broad shouldered, with gorgeous, dark skin, he shyly offered us a few coconuts that he had gathered that morning. I had never had a fresh coconut before, and I was eager to try one. 

When we tried to pay him, he refused. 'God provides', he said, smiling a toothless smile. 'You cannot pay me for what is free.'

And so miles and miles from any coconut grove, I am reminded that the best things in life are free.