By: Doug McKenzie

Volume 16, Issue 10, October 2021

Editor's note: I asked Doug McKenzie, from Cape Vincent, if he would like to pay tribute to this month's header photograph by the late Ian Coristine. Ian died in February 2020. Ian was the inspiration for both TI Life and my editorship. His photography lives on with his wife, Lyne Roberge, looking after his files. This month we pay tribute to our Ian and "Reflections" is our way of saying thanks.

Photograph by Ian Coristine and shared with TI Life through the courtesy of Ian Coristine/

In many ways, a picture is like a good book. You have to view it, or read it, a number of times to really appreciate its grandeur. Like an antique store. You walk through it the first time and nod and smile, and point and lift.  The next time, you discover something that is new, or was there and you didn’t see it.  Like a person. It takes some time to get to know. Once we’ve been around them enough, we accept them with all their imperfections and qualities. So again, it takes time to take in a picture. If you don’t know my style of writing, you’re probably getting a whiff of it right now. If you’ve already asked what my point is, or exclaimed “get to the point”, then have no fear. This is our first time together, or date if you will. I’m going to talk a little bit about this picture and I ask you, the reader, to look at it more than once, and to read these words more than once, to really appreciate all the colors and shapes.

Ask yourself what you felt, when you first gazed at the sailboats and islands and mist and trees and clouds and the placid water. I’m guessing morning. Around 5 am probably – perhaps slightly later. It’s October now, but I really wish it was June, so I’m leaning towards an early July morning, before the sun burns off the cloud cover and blue pushes out the gray. The wind picks up slightly to blow that warm air across your face. That’s the future of this day, but what about the here and now?

No one is moving aboard these vessels. I’d like to believe these boats know one another and perhaps this is Saturday morning, so last night they spent time playing cards, and perhaps feasting on wine and cheese until a grill was fired up. It was a late night and they’d done this before, so this scene isn’t new.  How fortunate the people are, who lie sleeping in each of these vessels. How fortunate we are for viewing this scene. How fortunate we know where this is taking place. Mornings like these are magical in looks, but we know the trick. We know where to find this serenity. The peacefulness cannot be rippled by our words, our lashes, our breath, or our attitudes. All is at a stop and the greatest tragedy is when the stop ceases and movement begins.

Stare at it. At the reflections. Place it upside down. Stare at it. At the reflections. Like a classic – the picture changes when you change. Next month when you look at this picture – humor me – will you look at it? Will you give it the time it gave you? You may notice something more or something less. It may mean more or you may not care. These pictures, these books, these antique stores, these people – they don’t change. We do. It may be one of our greatest virtues; the ability to view a scene that never changes and think greater of it. That smile you felt was all you wanted may not seem the same tomorrow. So you remember it today. The picture is forever. It will always be calm on this morning. You’ll have to decide in years from now whether the ripples came from them or you.

By Doug McKenzie

Doug McKenzie lives in Cape Vincent, NY.  He grew up by the St. Lawrence River. He says, "In a nutshell: Graduated from High School, Bachelor degree, Navy, Married with children, Masters degree, Unmarried, Still smiling and playing guitar." Doug's columns are enjoyed by TI Sun readers as well as appearing in The Rift, which is no longer in print. We are happy to welcome to TI Life and thank him for his Reflections.

Posted in: Volume 16, Issue 10, October 2021, Essay

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