I feel safe, this place is comfortable to me, I have been here so many times it is like a second home to me, a natural feeling, like I was meant to be here. 


From where I am positioned I can see for miles up and down the coast of Lake Erie, in the distance to the east, the hazy skyline of Cleveland, Ohio, scanning out over the lake from east to west I catch glimpses of the large lake ships moving their freight, delivering from here to there and back to somewhere else, I am always wondering where they are coming from, where they go next, what those ships are hauling across our great lake?

As I transition to my next move, get back up, set myself into position to go about my work it is in each of these moments the life surrounding me becomes more vivid, I become more aware. My senses are already up, making sure I am positioned properly, footed well, a safe climb up to my next perch is all that is on my mind, so hyper-aware of everything, every last detail, I do want to come back down, and at the last move, I want to pack it up and go home safe. In this state of awareness, when everything in me, all of my senses, awake, focused, third window cleaning eye open, up the ladder I go, into position, a moment to collect myself, view the work in front of me, know my task at hand, then the feeling takes over, my hands do their work while my eyes gaze into the glass to see what is around me, what is behind me, the not-so-vivid view comes to life as I stroke off the soapy dirty mix, it reveals a clarity. 

Credit: Phebe Van Der Meer

Each new move, each new window to clean, I am presented with a whole new world in the glass, so many places to see, images, movement, nature, life, it is all moving around me, I am moving around it, we are moving together. There is a certain home I look forward to every other week, nestled right at a spot on the shores of Lake Erie where the Eagles of Lake Erie love to call their home. What a beautiful sight this is to see, in the glass or with a quick turn of the head to see it as my eyes see it without the lens of the glass to reflect the image back into my head. It seems some moves I spend more time gazing at the Eagles, staring out onto the lake, watching a slow, slow ship motoring across the lake towards a destination, this extra time spent is not something I mind, it is what makes me love my work so much, this time I get with nature, with the outside world that moves with me each day out in the field of work.


My ladders have been a part of my life since I was a child, I feel like I was born on them sometimes!


Since my grandfather and father were both window cleaners, ladders, especially “stacking” ladders have always been a part of my life. We used to play on them as children, set them up, connect them together, hang sheets over them to make a fort, they had many uses for me as a child, Old wooden steps ladders that had seen their day in the field went on to become garden features, vining plants riding up and up the ladder steps to the top, reaching up towards the sunshine until the entire ladder was consumed by this plant or that. Some ladders were cut up and burned in a fire down by the lake to keep my grandfather and his winter fishing buddies warm, my dad used to cut them down and burn them when camping in his travel trailer, I never did know where he got so many ladders from to burn, we only had a three car garage and a two car garage filled with them, certainly not enough ladders collected to burn, and by the way, where did our fort ladders go dad? Those old ladders served a purpose at work, combined with the efforts of the user a quality ladder and user can fetch a handsome fee, and when that ladder has had enough, long before the user is ready to call it quits, that ladder still has some magic left in it, some purpose. 

Those old wood stacks are almost all gone for me, a few old wood ladders, stacks and steps, sitting around just to remind me of those days long ago when I first started at this, now my aluminum stacks stand ready, they have been an amazing replacement for those old wood stacks, not the same feeling, a feeling that takes some getting used to, but at the end of the day I feel safe, my ladders are comfortable to me, I have spent so much time on them they are like a second home to me, a natural feeling, like I was meant to be up there.


-By Craig Hendzel