There are many philosophical contemplations that involve a tree falling in a forest.

If no one is there when it happens, does it make a noise, for instance.

Kerikeri jogger Anna Phelps knows only too well the impact a falling tree can have.

Mrs Phelps was the victim of a freak accident a few Saturdays ago, while running on the Haruru Falls to Waitangi track.


Read more: Runner severely injured by falling tree in Northland

A wind gust blew a rotting tree over, knocking her unconscious and splitting her scalp.

She needed six hours of surgery - her injury list includes a smashed collar bone, a broken left arm, a broken rib, a punctured lung, four injured vertebrae and nine damaged teeth.
She described the accident as being "in totally the wrong place at the wrong time".

Running or walking a Northland bush track is one of the great pleasures of living in this region.

It is a great way to start the day, and a great place to leave the stresses of a busy working day behind.

And as daylight hours extend, more of us are emerging from our winter exercise slumber and taking advantage of the bush, and the ocean, for that matter.

Those who administer the track Mrs Phelps was injured on have pledged to continue to maintain the track and keep an eye on rotting trees.

Given that a 6m tree 4m away from a track could still injure someone, it might be a good time to review the breadth of the regular maintenance examinations.

It is not uncommon to come across fallen trees on the myriad of walking tracks on Whangarei's Mt Parihaka.

But to hit someone is a freak accident.

It is easier to prepare and safeguard against mishaps on the ocean.

Old fuel is something that can catch people out at this time of year, you may manage to coax your motor into starting, but getting it to fire up after you are well offshore is another matter.

There has been a spate of marine incidents this past week.

A mother and two children - who were all wearing life jackets - were rescued on Sunday in the Hokianga Harbour after a man with them swam 300m to raise the alarm.

The trio was found clinging to a boat which had overturned while they were dredging for scallops.

There have been other rescues around the country, and sadly, in Northland, a drowning.

Whether we are in the bush or at sea, these recent events are a sombre reminder of, especially at this time of year, the respect that nature's playground deserves.