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Reaching Palm

Corey Wilson


Behind the Shot

It can be argued that if it weren’t for the coconut palms that grow naturally in the Maldives, the civilizations that settled the region over 2,500 years ago would never have survived. Towering over the land, the coconut palms average 30 to 60 feet tall, with some growing up to 90 feet. Every part of the coconut palm is used by the Maldivians. Obviously the fruit is an important food source. The palm’s leaves and branches are collected for their fibers, used in everything from roofing material to baskets, clothing, and the ubiquitous brooms needed to keep the flat lands free of sand. The coconut shells are dried and used as fuel for fires. Starch from the stem is made into flour, and the palm wood is used for everything one would use wood for. The entire tree is carved hollow to make the traditional multipurpose boats known as dhoni. They fly sails made from woven leaves tied with coir, the rope created from the fibers of coconut husks.

Corey was drawn to this one particular palm that appeared to be reaching out over the water. He was intrigued by its position, “Was it reaching toward the sun or reaching toward the water? It’s obviously reaching toward something. Trying to find its soulmate? Who knows? But it’s beautiful. When I saw this I thought it was really unique. I’d never seen anything like it. All the other palms were sticking straight up except this one.”