The stars twinkled in the cloudless sky above him, cheering him on. A frost might threaten on a night like this in only a couple of weeks he thought. It was early September and the trees were almost on the turn, the occasional red brown appearing amongst the green. Tonight a lovely warm breeze greeted him instead.
He switched on his headlamp and got out of the van with his bag of tricks as he liked to call it. A standard box cutter knife, a hammer, some rolls of tape, a measuring tape, gloves and an assortment of other small tools including what he was looking for, a small set of shears you might use for branch pruning. He put on his gloves and walked over to the fence, a cheap plastic composite variety of fence, the kind of one perpetually on sale in garden centers. It was good for keeping small animals out or locked in as the case may be, and not much else.
Five minutes later he had made a nice entrance for himself. His planned site was only less than a mile away on foot. He glanced at his watch: 01:10 am. He’d have maybe about 3 hours work ahead of him and maybe an hour or so of observation time with his telescope. First he would transport the saplings, seeds and begin the dig. He’d leave transporting the bags till last. He took the giant bag of saplings and seeds, and his foldable shovel and headed off. The forest always amazed him at night with how noisy it could be. From rustlings and scratchings to the insistent calls of the Eastern Screech Owl and foxes, you knew you weren’t really ever alone.
Fear wasn’t something David really ever had experienced though. It wasn’t part of his psychological make up. He could worry like anyone else, fret, ruminate over the smallest of things. But he never feared. At 38 he was six foot 2 and in the best shape of his life, almost 220 pounds of mostly muscle. By 3:50 am, the clearing had been prepared, three neat holes, all 3-4 foot deep, 3 foot wide, 4 feet long, each hole equidistant from one another making a triangle. He unwrapped the first, placing everything in a neat pile in one of the holes.. Then the second, bigger, again, into the next hole. The last, the biggest was difficult to fit but he managed. He orientated the eyes on each, making sure the head was placed perfectly to look into the starlit sky. By compacting the pieces with earth dug up from the holes, he was able to stabilize the gaze of the boys. The saplings and seeds were planted last, and when he stepped back to admire his work, he praised himself for his neatness. He checked his watch- almost 4:20am. The headlamp batteries had at best another 90 minutes. About 300 meters further to the east was a small hillock. He gathered up the bags and his bag of tricks as well as his telescope. He had maybe 30 minutes or so of viewing before he needed to head back. It had been hard work, but it would be worth it. He was sure of this.