Maggie Wilson Author

Historical Non-Fiction in Northern Ontario


tree fallI know that the question “If a tree falls in the forest and there is no one there, does it make a sound?” is meant as a brain teaser.

But I’m here to tell you: when you are getting ready for bed and you hear the most god-awful cracking and crashing noises, the kind that make your blood run cold, the answer is a resounding,


Ironically, everyone in the neighbourhood heard the noise and knew that a tree had come down. Everyone except the householder, our neighbour South. He heard it, but figured it was a car crash. Poked his head out the front door to see what he could see, shrugged, and returned to his TV. At daylight, I went out to investigate and sure enough, an 80-foot oak gave way and took out his garden sheds. It made a hell of a mess.

We decided to check our own property for potential collapses. Reiner secured a basswood on the fence line and noted a few walnut trees that he wanted to take out, not for safety reasons but because they make such a nasty mess that encroach on South’s gardens. Besides the leaf and nut litter, gardeners find walnut trees particularly difficult to live with because the roots emit the toxin juglone.

Reiner plans to cut down one of the walnut trees today. He is out there now, rounding up his gear. I’m here typing away in order to displace my anxiety.

I hear the clang of the ladder.

Oh, boy.

We in this household are not cool about ladders. Not cool at all. That tree on the fence line? I helped hold the ladder while he worked. He was shaking so badly, the ladder trembled the entire time.

You see, Reiner learned the hard way about ladder safety.

Two summers ago, after a late afternoon rain shower, he noticed the overflowing eaves-troughs. He hauled out the ladder and in no time scrambled up with the garden hose to flush out the plug of litter.

I was inside, chatting with a friend on the telephone. Then I heard a metallic scraping noise and a tremendous crash, followed by Reiner screaming my name.

I told my friend, “Gotta go!”

And go I did. Adrenaline kept me focused and steady.

I rushed him to the hospital. He was so badly injured that even the normally composed and business-like nursing staff were taken aback. He was admitted immediately. They stitched up the gashes on his face and his knee. They reset the dislocated elbow. After a set of x-rays, they announced that he had two broken ribs.

If he were a heavier man, he might have been killed. He was very lucky. Stupid, he admits, and very, very lucky.

Removing our tree this weekend should be pretty straightforward stuff if you are calm and cool about all things related to the lumberjack trade. Things like chainsaws and ropes and tackle. If ladders are involved, then so am I. Reiner is good with that. If he’s good, I’m good.

More or less.

Maybe less.

OK, a lot less.

I will hold my breath until the deed is done and body count = 0.

***   ***   ***   ***   ***

Photo Credit

Categories: Blog Blog Blog, Husband

Tags: , ,

24 replies

  1. We have had similar experiences and therefore, feelings, about any activity that requires a ladder.
    My husband had the same experience cleaning eavestroughs many years ago. He discovered that wet concrete is as slippery like ice. He was a lot more fortunate than your husband though. He grabbed onto the eavestrough when the ladder gave way. The eavestrough was ripped off the house, but it slowed down his fall. Since the edges on an eavestrough can be quite sharp, he managed to rip all the skin of his finger tips. There was blood EVERYWHERE. It was horrifying – I thought he had cut all his fingers off.
    Men and ladders shudder


  2. Oh Maggie, I hate ladders, and my husband has spent a lot of hours on them in precarious places while I “footed”them. As if I could really stop anything from happening. So glad yours is alright!


    • Hi! Taking a break from overseeing the forestry project. So far, ladders not involved, thank goodness! I know what you mean about not being able to keep a ladder from falling. Especially this tall heavy job that we use to get to the top of a 2 and a half storey house. Fortunately, if he needs to get to the roof, he can secure the ladder to the wooden deck below. Something he kicks himself for NOT doing that time!


  3. Poor Rainer!

    Walnut wood is highly prized by crafts folk. You could sell it after the deed is done. Something to look forward to!


  4. Oh lord, I feel your past pain and your current fear, anxiety and dread. Is it a man/woman thing – even when THEY are afraid, they still go up the ladder? Even holding the ladder, I quake with fear that he’ll fall on me, drop something on me, or lean to far and tumble himself. That’s part of my impetus in downsizing a few years ago to a place on one level with an HOA. He has no reason or excuse to get on the ladder outdoors, and we can reasonably manage them inside to paint our lower walls.

    DO let us know when the project is over. I won’t stop worrying till I know you are both ok!


    • I’ve been fantasizing about a bungalow for a while now. Even before “the fall”.

      Job today is complete, without need for ladders! See below for some more fun. Thanks, Sammy, I appreciate your concern and kindness!


  5. Hey, Maggie – see my post tomorrow at I “tagged” you because I like your posts and want others to know about you. If you don’t have time to do your own tag post, no big dea – expecially if you’re still wrestling ladders!!l. Cheers, Sammy D


  6. I have a shirt with that exact design! I bought it from Woot!


  7. I hope everything went well and that Reiner is safely relaxing, mission accomplished, and no falls!!! I don’t “do” ladders anymore. I don’t have that sense of balance I used to have. 😦


  8. Hi Dixie! All is indeed well. Neighbour South came to help, which was much appreciated. He was the cool that we needed to balance the anxious. We are now in clean-up mode.


  9. Have the advantage of reading this late, so I know the happy ending. Just want to say that you are stepping up the illustration game, girl. I’ve got some competition, don’t I? (Kidding–my ego isn’t quite that large.) Laughed so much, at this cartoon. All of of your pics and vids are spot-on lately (or maybe they have always been and I’m more spot-on now). Good show!



  1. Mission Accomplished | The Zombies Ate My Brains
  2. Juggling Act | The Zombies Ate My Brains
  3. Morning Person | The Zombies Ate My Brains
  4. Get the Stink Blowed Off | The Zombies Ate My Brains

Your thoughts?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s