Great Awe

In the evenings presently our family is reading Kenneth Grahame’s classic, The Wind in the Willows.  Grahame plays on the strings of the soul with the pick of his poetic prose.  So far, it seems to be a story that shows the folly of wanderlust and the joys that can be found by staying put.  His talking animals arouse similar feelings in me that Wendell Berry’s talking ancestors of Port William do.

I read the description of Rat and Mole’s encounter with the demi-god Pan playing his pipes at dawn and wondered if it can be seen as an echo of the true experience we can have in God’s presence.

Then suddenly the Mole felt a great Awe fall upon him, and awe that turned his muscles to water, bowed his head, and rooted his feet to the ground.  It was no panic terror – indeed he felt wonderfully at peace and happy – but it was an awe that smote and held him and, without seeing, he knew it could only mean that some august Presence was very, very near.  With difficulty he turned to look for his friend and saw him at his side cowed, stricken, and trembling violently.


‘Rat!’ he found breath to whisper, shaking.  ‘Are you afraid?’

‘Afraid?’ murmured the Rat, his eyes shining with unutterable love.  ‘Afraid! Of HIM? O, never, never!  And yet – and yet – O, Mole, I am afraid!’

Then the two animals, crouching to the earth, bowed their heads and did worship.

You can definitely see here Grahame’s influence on C.S. Lewis and his talking animals!


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