On this day in 1859, Kenneth Grahame was born in Edinburgh, Scotland. Most people aren’t familiar with his famous name but they are familiar with the book that brought him notoriety: The Wind in the Willows. For over a century, this book has been taking children (and adults) into a world where wild animals live like humans, carrying on life together. The characters mimic the personalities of people we know in our own lives, making them easy to relate to and bond with.
Mr. Toad is fun-loving and cares deeply for his friends, but he’s also flighty, rich, and quickly moves from one hobby to the next. Mole is generous, a bit timid; but eventually the bravest of all. Rat is very sociable, loves to travel, and tries to accommodate everyone. Badger is serious, gruff, and loves his solitude; but he also cares for his friends deeply. There are many other characters in this novel that add to the tale of this mystical world, but those are the main four. They intertwine to create a story that is memorable.
Many a parent has created magical stories for their children, just like Mr. Grahame did for his son Alastair. Most are told at night as bedtime stories. Perhaps it’s because animals loan themselves to being quite human-like, that we can turn them into characters with a message to give. Here at Your True Nature, we have created an assortment of Advice from Nature lines with many being from animals. The Wind in the WIllows inspired us to reach into our child-like imaginations for this Wisdom Wednesday. We chose four animals from our advice line and used their own advice to profile characters for a story.
Ms. Frog: Ms. Frog loves to “spend time at her pad” and goes swimming quite often. She believes you should “make a splash” in this world, but you still need to think about things and “look before you leap.” Ms. Frog is also a bit insecure and tends to jump to conclusions about things others say. She’s a go-getter in life and her tagline is: “Hop to It!”
Mr. Squirrel: Mr. Squirrel is Ms. Frog’s best friend. He is very responsible, advising all to “look both ways when you cross the road,” and “plan ahead.” Mr. Squirrel also likes to stay in shape and he thinks that health is when we “eat plenty of fiber.” Though he’s a little nutty at times, he can be seen going out on a limb for his friends. His tagline: “Stay Active!”
Madame Rabbit: Madame Rabbit is all things new age and a bit of a hippie (self-proclaimed of course). She’s calm and peaceful, making her a good listener; and also a bit of a health nut (“eat plenty of greens!”) Madame Rabbit knows when to be still and believes everyone should “spend time in nature.” Like Ms. Frog, she believes you should “hop to it,” so you can “let your dreams multiply.” Her tagline is: “Don’t worry, be hoppy!”
Beaver: Beaver tends to be a stick in the mud and therefore likes to stay a bit isolated. He is, however, an engineer and keeps busy by being constructive. When his friends do come around, Beaver likes them to “work together” so they can help him “build on his dreams.” He always has a project going. His friends don't tend to eat meals with him because, well, he chews his food thoroughly and very loud. Beaver’s tagline: “Be Eager!”
These characters can be imagined into a whole new world of misadventures, full of lessons and advice along the way. A magical world known as Your True Nature.
Sometimes it’s hard to look past an animal as being just an animal; but if we watch them long enough, we learn a whole new story. Animals have a purpose for almost everything they do and they have evolved to survive in various situations. It takes an imaginative person to turn these critter's daily activities into a magical story (or advice poem) that helps us comprehend the wisdom of Nature. Take some time this week to observe an animal for awhile and see if you learn anything new or insightful. Perhaps they'll guide you in this stage of your life.