When the sun went down, he sat down by the path and prepared a simple dinner; Then, sending in a mouth a piece at a piece and merrily chewing, he listened as the fire crackled. Passed another day, like thirty others: early in the morning to dig a lot of neat pits, then plant seeds in them, draw water from transparent channels. Now, bound by lead fatigue, he lay, looking at the sky, in which one shade of darkness was replaced by another. His name was Benjamin Driscoll, he was thirty-one years old. He wanted one thing – that the whole of Mars would turn green, become covered with tall trees with thick foliage, giving birth to air, more air; let them grow in all seasons, refresh the city in a sweltering summer, do not let winter winds.
A tree, something only it can not… It gives color to nature, stretches the shadow, pours the earth with fruits. Or it becomes the realm of children’s games – a whole heavenly world where you can climb, play, hang in your arms… A magnificent structure, carrying food and joy – that’s what a tree is. But first of all the trees are a source of life-giving cool air for a light and gentle rustling, which eats your ears and lulls you at night when you are lying in a snow-white bed. He lay and listened to the dark soil gathering with strength, waiting for the sun, waiting for the rains, which are all there and no…
Putting his ear to the ground, he heard the tread of the coming years and saw –
Breathed and do not feel. In any way you will not inhale. He touched his chest. How it expanded in thirty days! Yes, here they need to develop lungs to inhale more air. Or plant more trees. “Do you understand why I’m here?” – he said. The fire shot. – At school we were told about Johnny Apple Seed. As he walked through America and planted apple trees. And my business is more important. I plant oaks, elms, and maples, and all sorts of other trees – aspens, chestnuts and cedars. I do not just produce fruits for the stomach, but air for the lungs. Just think: when all these trees finally grow, how much oxygen will be from them! I remembered the day of my arrival on Mars. Like a thousand others, he peered then in the quiet Martian morning and thought: “How will I settle here?” What will I do? Will there be work for me? ” And he lost consciousness. Someone put a vial of ammonia under his nose, he coughed and came to himself. “Nothing, recover,” the doctor said. – And what happened to me? – There is a very rarefied atmosphere. Some people do not tolerate it. You may have to return to Earth. – No! “He sat down, but at that very moment his eyes darkened, and Mars made under him at least two turns.
The nostrils widened, he forced the lungs to drink greedily for nothing. “I’ll get used to it.” I’ll stay here! He was left alone, he lay, breathing like a fish in the sand, and thought: “Air, air, air.” They want to send me from here because of the air. ” And he turned his head to look at the hills and plains of Mars. The first thing that I saw was too: I looked everywhere, no matter how much you look, not a single tree, not a single one. This land seemed to have punished itself, black humus swept in all directions, and on it – nothing, not a single blade of grass. “Air,” he thought, breathing in a colorless something, “Air, air…” And on the tops of the hills, on shady slopes, even near the creek, there are neither trees, nor blades of grass. Well, of course! The answer was not born in the mind, but in the throat, in the lungs. And this thought, like a breath of pure oxygen, immediately cheered. Trees and grass. He looked at his hands and turned them palms up. He will plant grass and trees. Here is his work: to fight against the very thing that can stop him from staying here. He will declare war on Mars – a special, agrobiological war.
Ancient Martian soil… Her own plants have lived so many millions of millennia that they are completely decrepit and degenerated. And if you plant new species? Terrestrial trees are branchy mimosa, weeping willows, magnolias, majestic eucalyptus trees. What then? One can only guess what mineral riches lurk in the local soil-untouched, because ancient ferns, flowers, shrubs, trees died from exhaustion. “I have to get up!” he shouted. “I need to see the Coordinator!” Half a day he and the Coordinator talked about growing in green. It will take months, if not years, before you can begin systematic planting. So far, food is delivered from the Earth frozen, in flying icicles; Only a few fans grew gardens hydroponically. “So for now,” said the Coordinator, “do it yourself.” We will get as many seeds as possible, some equipment. Now there is not enough space in the rockets. I’m afraid that since the first settlements are connected to mines, your green planting project will not be a success… “” But will you allow me? ” He was allowed. They gave out a motorcycle, he filled the trunk with seeds and seedlings, left for desert valleys, left the car and walked on foot, working. It began thirty days ago, and from that time on he never looked back.
To look back is to lose heart: there was unusually dry weather, and hardly a single seed grew. Maybe the battle is lost? Four weeks of work – wasted? And he looked only forward, walked forward along a wide sunny valley, farther from the First City, and waited – waited for when it would rain. He pulled the blanket over his shoulders; Over the dry hills the clouds were plump. Mars is unstable, like time. – Baked sun hills prihvatyvaet night frost, and he thought about the rich black soil – a black and shiny, it almost did not move in a handful of oily soil from which it could grow mighty, giant bean stalk, and ripe pods have dropped huge, unimaginable grains that shake the earth. The sleepy fire turned to ash. The air trembled: in the distance a cart rolled. Thunder. Unexpected smell of moisture. “This night, he thought, and stretched out his hand to check if it was raining. “Tonight.” Something touched his brow, and he woke up, moisture fell down his nose, a second drop hit the eye and blinked for a moment, and the third crashed against his cheek.
Cool, affectionate, light, he drizzled from the high sky – a magic elixir, smelling of charms, stars, air; he carried with him a black, pepper-like dust, leaving in the language the same feeling as the aged old sherry. Rain. He sat down. The blanket flew off, and dark spots ran over the blue shirt; The drops became larger and larger. The bonfire looked as if an invisible beast danced over it, trampling on the fire; and now there was only an angry smoke. Rain is coming. The huge black sky suddenly split into six slate-blue shards and crashed down. He saw dozens of billions of rain crystals, they froze in their fall exactly for as long as needed to be imprinted by an electric photographer. And again darkness and water, water… He was soaked to the bone, but he sat and laughed, lifting his face, and the drops pounded on the eyelids. He clapped his hands, jumped to his feet and walked around his small camp; it was one in the morning.
The rain poured continuously for two hours, then stopped. Spilled cleanly washed stars, bright as ever. Benjamin Driscoll took dry clothes out of a plastic bag, changed clothes, lay down and, happy, fell asleep. The sun rose slowly between the hills. The rays burst out from behind the barrier, quietly slid over the ground and awakened Driscoll. He hesitated a little before getting up. For a whole month, a long hot month, he worked, worked and waited… But today, having risen, he turned for the first time in the direction from which he came. The morning was green. As far as the eye could see, trees rose to the sky. Not one, not two, not a dozen, but all those thousands that he planted, seeds or seedlings. And not a trifle any, no, not shoots, not fragile trees, but powerful trunks, mighty trees high with a house, green-green, huge, round, lush trees with silver-cast foliage, rustling in the wind, long rows of trees on the slopes of the hills, lemon trees and lindens, redwoods and mimosas, oaks and elms, aspen, cherry, maple, ash, apple, orange trees, eucalyptus – spurred by the rainy rain, nourished by another’s magic soil. On his eyes continued to stretch up new branches, burst new kidneys. – Incredible! exclaimed Benjamin Driscoll. But the valley and morning were green. And the air! From everywhere, like a living stream, like a mountain river, fresh air was flowing, oxygen exuded by green trees. exclaimed Benjamin Driscoll. But the valley and morning were green. And the air! From everywhere, like a living stream, like a mountain river, fresh air was flowing, oxygen exuded by green trees. exclaimed Benjamin Driscoll. But the valley and morning were green. And the air! From everywhere, like a living stream, like a mountain river, fresh air was flowing, oxygen exuded by green trees.
Look closely and see how it shimmers in the sky with crystal waves. Oxygen – fresh, clean, green, cool oxygen turned the valley into a delta of the river. Another moment, the doors will open in the city, people will run out to meet the miracle, they will swallow, inhale with full chest, cheeks will turn pink, the noses will be chilled, the lungs will come to life again, the heart will be more often beaten, and tired bodies will fly in the dance. Benjamin Driscoll took a deep, deep breath of the moist green air and fainted. Before he came to, five thousand trees rose up towards the yellow sun.