I put this picture up last night, along with a few sentiments about lost youth and opportunities, but - at around 7.00 am this morning, in the cold light of day - I realised that all I really wanted to do was find an excuse - any excuse - to put up a picture of the sexiest fruit in the world before anyone else did.
I don't know much about these plants, apart from their unique method of propagation, about which I have a few theories of my own - the main one of which proves beyond doubt that God does, indeed, have a sense of humour, albeit a cruel one.
I assume that these huge seed-pods come from some kind of palm, like coconuts, and those palms grow on the fringes of tropical islands (as you can tell, I have not carried out too much onerous research).
The pods drop from the palms into the sea, and are carried from thence by the waves to another island, where they wash up on the shore, germinate, take root and begin a colony of similar palms which - in time - will bear fruit and start the whole process all over again. Over untold ages, the palms must have travelled hundreds - if not thousands - of miles, as they have colonised little dots and atolls, some of which too small to show up on any map.
Over the centuries, there must have been more than one lone, shipwrecked sailor who has also washed up on a small, unpopulated island, and it would not be too long before his thoughts would have turned to the two most pressing considerations that must occupy the thoughts of a man in that predicament - food and human companionship.
So when, one morning, he awakes to find a Coco de Mer lying at his feet on the strand - inedible, unyeildingly hard and shaped exactly like the woman who had visited him in his dreams the previous night - Mother Nature has surely played a very cruel trick on him indeed.