The frozen lake - Part 2

Din Din and Dazel rushed towards the frozen lake desperate to find Delma. Din Din was wearing the scarf his grandmother had knitted for him to ward off the chill.

“Dazel, you also take this stole, it will keep you warm,” Grandma had insisted. So Dazel had agreed and huddled into the welcome warmth of wool.

“Don’t ducks migrate South when it gets so cold?” Din Din’s grandmother asked in concern.

“It’s never been this cold in this part of D’Land,” Dazel replied. “We ducks can cope with this cold but if the pond freezes then I must stay with Wiz Rooster in his home. But first I must find Delma.”

When they crossed the blanket of snow to finally reach the lakeside, the frozen lake glinted in the muted light of the sun. The silence seemed eerie and the two friends felt as if the lakeside which was usually a hub of activity, was now just a page in a picture book.

“Where has everyone disappeared?” Din Din asked in alarm.

“Well, the snails, worms, insects and spiders have dug deep into the soil below the frost line while the birds seem to have migrated in search of warmer areas. Some animals have chosen suspended animation and torpor to survive this snow spell,” explained Dazel.

Just then they saw some movement below the snowy surface near a clump of trees.

“Hello! Who’s there?” the duck asked desperately.

Dell the mischievous beaver’s head popped up from the ground.

“Dell?” cried Din Din and Dazel. The impish beaver grinned despite the bitter cold.

“Where are all the creatures?” Dazel asked.

“Well, the beavers, squirrels and lemurs have been up all night preparing our den by insulating it. It’s an under-ground area and we all plan to stay there until this chill passes,” Dell explained. “I must rush now otherwise you know how my mom worries about me. I was just out to get our last stash of nuts from our dam.”

“Do you know where Delma is?” Dazel asked urgently.

“Delma? No! We were so caught up all night that we didn’t realize that the dolphin wasn’t here. I haven’t seen her all night actually,” Dell answered and with that his head disappeared as he scampered underground.

“Is it possible that Delma has been frozen under the surface?” Din Din voiced their worst fear.

“Please, let us not assume the worst until we have searched thoroughly for her,” said Dazel shaking her head, not wanting her mind to dwell upon that dark possibility.

“Let’s skirt the edge of the lake and begin looking for her closely under the frozen surface. If she is trapped under this sheet of ice, we need to locate her and free her,” added Dazel.

So the two friends scoured the lakeside — Din Din peered carefully on foot, shivering in the cold while Dazel flew low over the icy surface squinting closely.

It was late afternoon and still no sign of Delma. Dazel’s beak was chattering from cold. Suddenly, snowflakes began falling gently from the deep grey sky and before long snow was falling steadily.

“Maybe we should return back home,” suggested Din Din.

“There’s one more place left to check — the Aquatic School,” said Dazel desperately.

Just then, there was a flurry of black feathers and Dazel and Din Din turned around to spot Swain the swan flying towards them.

“Dazel! It’s started snowing and Wiz Rooster has sent me. Please return to his house; there’s another snow storm predicted,” urged Swain.

“He’s right, Dazel,” said Din Din morosely. “There is no way we can find Delma now. The snow is a huge obstacle and if we fall ill how will we find her.”

The reluctant friends returned homewards — Din Din to Fruit Park and the two birds aimed for Wiz Rooster’s home near the Aviary School for birds.

The rooster had brewed herbal tea to comfort them over his open fireplace. “Dazel, we are all worried to death about Delma. She hasn’t experienced cold like this and we don’t know how she would have survived…” Wiz Rooster consoled Dazel. “But we must hope for the best.”

The evening seemed to crawl by and the night was endless. Throughout, snow continued to fall swiftly. In the morning, a fresh layer of snow, one foot deep had covered D’Land. Dazel’s pond home was now also a sheet of ice.

As soon as the snow halted, Dazel was off to hunt for Delma again. This time she flew straight to Aquatic School. The Aquatic School was in the furthest part of D’Land where the lake was distributed into coves. Silence greeted Dazel as she landed on one of the rocks with a flap of her yellow wings.

The lake was frozen here too. But she could hear the sound of splashing water.

“Delma!” Dazel cried.

“Dazel?” came the stunned reply. It was definitely Delma’s voice. But where was she? “I’m here, Dazel. In the innermost cove,” Delma answered.

Dazel hurried towards the cove which lay deep inside the cliffs where the lake ended. She nearly cried with relief at the sight of her dolphin friend.

“Where have you been, Delma? We have been worried sick! And how come the water in this cove hasn’t frozen,” Dazel had a tirade of questions for Delma.

“The temperature in this cove is warmer than the surroundings; it seems to be insulated by the cliffs on the inner side,” Delma explained.

“How did you survive the freezing lake, Delma?” asked Dazel as she nuzzled her friend’s snout with her beak.

“The night it snowed heavily, I could feel the lake water begin to freeze at the surface. I rushed to 011y the octopus to ask him what to do next,” explained Delma. “I had no idea how to survive such extreme climate. Olly explained to me that creatures like dolphins and whales and other marine mammals can generate their own heat and maintain a stable body temperature despite fluctuating environmental conditions — that’s because we are warm-blooded.”

“I’m so relieved,” sighed Dazel happily.

“I knew you all must have been so anxious about me. I was also feeling so lonely. I had nothing to eat except the few weeds growing near this cove’s edge. I have to try to stay within the cove enclosure because the rest of the lake’s frozen. It’s hard for me because I’m used to swimming about freely,” admitted Delma ruefully.

“Yes, I can imagine. But don’t you worry, I can stay here with you too until my pond thaws. I will fly around to hunt for our food. I have some seeds and nuts near the pond,” Dazel reassured her friend.

The two friends hugged, knowing that as long as they were together everything would be fine.

The Adventures of D'Land
Animated Series

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