I am the daughter of an island nation. The British isles may not have conjured into existence my ancestral line but she is my Mother nevertheless and I have become of the belief that it is her jagged hemline of rocky coasts reaching in every direction, ragingly glossed over by the force of the ocean’s voice in the form of tidal waves, that is the explanation behind why my heart is forever a magnet towards the kingdoms of the sea. Like a helpless silver fish that squirms and wriggles in the fisherman’s net in the futile attempt to free itself, I, too, cannot be landlocked for too long a time and must seek out the tasty alertness of salty air, the noisy shrills of wayward gulls, the avarice of wet sands and the mysterious plaits of algae before my soul succumbs to stagnation. It is as though my spirit only agreed to occupy human form on the condition that in life it may seek out its borderless essence in the infinite watery mirrors of the seas.
The present photo-diary is but an abridged version of a recent expedition to an island off the coast of southern England. Famed for its boat building history, its fair pull of poets and writers, and the once location of Queen Victoria’s summer palace, the Isle of Wight is a diamond-shaped island that floats quite happily on Channel waters. The geographical signatures one is struck by immediately upon coming here are the sight of windswept majestic cliffs, some made of coarse stones whereas others are sandy and soft. They rise as far as the eye can see and, if you are observant enough, you might even be lucky enough to spot the fossilised remains of dinosaur bones, the island is an indisputable haven for budding palaeontologists!
The most famous landmark on the Isle of Wight and the first Susie, Agnes and myself were determined to venture towards is called ‘The Needles’. Situated on the western coast, these comprise of three pillars of chalk that defiantly rise out of the sea, not at all far from Alum Bay. There is an adorable Lighthouse on the outer end of the formation and I would have dearly loved to climb it and look out from its top window, pretending to guide the lost out at sea back to the comforting embrace of the shore. For those with an appetite for history, you may be intrigued to know that there is a fourth ‘needle’ called ‘Lot’s Wife’ but it collapsed in a ferocious storm in 1764. Ironically, it is this submerged rock that shares the strongest resemblance to a needle rather than the three that are visible to the eye. Lot, himself, is a biblical figure, cited in both Christianity and Islam, venerated as a prophet and messenger of God.
As I silently stood on the edge of the grassy hill overlooking The Needles I felt as though I had come one step closer to solving the mystery of why my heart was so persistently drawn to the abstruse beauty of the sea. Is there a needle out there, below the hidden blue depths that once belonged to me, whose powers are pen-like and curative? And then it came to me, in slow hushes, in sweet trickles, the memory that indeed such a magical needle was mine and that no matter where I found myself in the world I, the Seamstress of the people, could always entrust Mother Nature to hear my prayers and awaken life into my needle, letting it twirl and stitch and send off gifts to those for whom a smile is a treasure long-awaited… :))
Photography & Words: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | The Needles | Isle Of Wight 2015