Reach for stars

The night sky twinkled as Dazel looked up. She was lying on her back, her wings linked behind her, entranced by the stars which winked and the large, white moon which glowed in the coal-black sky.

“I wish we could reach the moon,” she wondered aloud.

Her friends Din Din and Delma giggled. The three friends were enjoying a slumber party at the lake side as they had a week-long spring break.

“Dazel, don’t you ever stop thinking. Forget about adventures for just some time,” Din Din jibed.

“Yes, just relax tonight and enjoy the spring night breeze,” said Delma yawning. But Dazel did not reply. She continued to gaze at the sky.

“I am a bird, yet no matter how high I fly I cannot reach the moon nor the stars,” she continued wistfully.

“Well, in Geography we learnt that the moon is 238,855 miles away from us,” shared Delma.

“Wow! How do you remember that?” said Din Din.

Delma laughed. “You know Luke, the lake trout, our Science teacher, taught us to make a rocket the other day,” she continued.

“A rocket!” Dazel said sitting upright. “What’s that?”

“Well, it’s like a pointed cylinder that can be shot up to the air,” Delma explained. “He made a water rocket and used air pressure. Luke was explaining that if fueled by another kind of power, rockets can be made to reach the moon.”

“I want to make a rocket,” declared Dazel.

“It’s midnight, Dazel,” complained Din Din. “Let’s go to sleep. We can dream about rockets.” Delma snickered.

But Dazel did dream about rockets that night. She imagined that she was sitting on a flying object and had reached the moon. In her dreams the moon was made of a white smooth surface and she was gliding over it. It was cool and crisp just like in the mountains of D’Land and she felt liberated.

When she woke up the next morning, Dazel couldn’t wait to get started on her rocket. Her mind was swimming with images of reaching the moon in a flying object.

“I’m going to visit Luke and learn how to build a rocket so I can reach the moon,” Dazel declared to her two best friends over a breakfast of weeds and nuts.

“But, Dazel, the rocket Luke built was not big enough to carry anyone,” Delma said in alarm as she heard Dazel’s perilous idea.

“Nothing is impossible,” Dazel said, her jaw set with determination.

That morning she paid a visit to Luke the lake trout, who lived near the Aquatic School.

“Hello, Sir,” Dazel introduced herself confidently.

“Hello, you are Delma’s friend, aren’t you?” Luke said looking up from the parchments he was reading.

“Yes, Sir! I want to learn how to make a water rocket. Delma told me about how you showed them a rocket demonstration in class,” she said, her excitement evident. Luke was pleased that someone was so interested in studying, especially during spring break.

“Well, we need thick sheets cut from the bark of a tree. We use these sheets and cover them with lotus leaves which are the most water resistant,” Luke turned the sheets to make a cylinder and fixed a cone on its top. “I use pine tree sap to stick these pieces together.”

“Then the remaining sheet is used to cut out 3.4 right angle triangles to make fins of your rocket to make the rocket stand straight. These fins are put on the lower part of the rocket,” Luke clarified.

Dazel watched as he used a blob of clay. “This is the ballast to give the rocket weight.” Luke moulded the soft clay into the ridges on the bottom of the cylinder. “Now watch carefully,” Luke said. He took a round flat object. “This is from the cork oak tree. We use it to close one end of the cylinder.” Luke carefully made a very small hole through the cork.

He then turned the rocket so that the cone was facing upwards and the fins were at the bottom. “There is a geyser near the coves. We need to go there.”

When he saw Dazel look puzzled he smiled. “A geyser is a vent in Earth’s surface that ejects a column of hot water and steam.”

Luke swam through the clear blue lake water and Dazel followed in mid-air, carrying the rocket securely under her wing.

Luke indicated for her to stop near a large rocky bank of the lank. There were a series of cracks in the rocks.

Luke pointed to one of the large cracks. “Be careful, Dazel,” Luke warned. “Here, go ahead and place the rocket on that crack and wait.” Dazel and Luke waited. Dazel did not know what to expect. She held her breath. After what seemed like ages, a burst of steam erupted from the crack. The rocket leapt up in the air.

Dazel clapped her wings in delight. “Spectacular.”

Soon, the rocket zoomed back down and Dazel ran to catch it.

She rushed to Luke. “That was incredible! Now, Sir, I want to make a rocket that will carry me to the moon,” she panted, out of breath.

Luke looked thunderstruck. “Don’t think I can help you do that,” he stammered.

But Dazel was adamant. “There must be a way to make a bigger rocket; big enough and strong enough to reach the moon.

Luke asked Dazel to sit down. “Dazel you know, my dear, beyond what we call the earth’s atmosphere, lies the moon and the stars, in what we call outer space. It is impossible for us to venture there. Even if we did build a rocket large enough to sit in and powerful enough to shoot through the atmosphere and rise up, there would be no oxygen out there and we wouldn’t be able to breath.”

Dazel listened in wonder. “Outer space sounds fascinating,” she finally said. “Maybe someday, we might be able to build a rocket with oxygen supply,” Dazel suggested hopefully.

Luke shook his head, smiling benignly. “Thank you so much Sir. This was an incredibly fascinating experience. I really appreciate the fact that you helped me learn something inspiring,” Dazel ended respectfully and bid farewell to the lake trout, the rocket still under her arm.

When she returned to where Delma lived, she showed the dolphin the rocket and was all praise for what Luke had taught her.

“So it’s not possible to reach the moon, is it?” asked Delma.

“Maybe we can invent a rocket that will have all the facilities to reach the stars!” Dazel insisted. “I still think that nothing is impossible!”

The Adventures of D'Land
Animated Series

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