Each spring, when the grass in the hay field has been cut and baled, these little trails, leading from the slough to Piney Creek, become visible. They criss cross and meander, worn away by the stepping of little animal feet: armadillo, skunk, opossum, beaver, deer. That's when my imagination takes over and a story begins to form in my head. Those small animals become real, working and playing to have a life similar to ours.
It would be a long day's journey for them to go all the way across the field and into the big woods on the other side. What would they find there, and what dangers would they face on the way?
This part of the slough becomes the river and isn't that hole beneath the tree a perfect place for a river rat's home? And what if he's joined by a mole, disgruntled from spending the winter underground and now trying to do his spring housecleaning; wouldn't it be just ever so nice for the rat to take him on a day's outing in a boat? Rat would introduce Mole to all the other animals who live along the river and in the field.
They're joined in their outing by a friend, and while the friend is out of his burrow, a snake slips in and takes up residence. Won't he be surprised when he gets home! Yes, that could be the beginning of a great story. But wait a minute!! That story has already been written!!
Kenneth Grahame wrote The Wind in the Willows from stories he had told his four year old son. The tales were told over a four year period before the book was published in 1908. I have read that the characters were based on some political figures of his time; however, I see nothing political about it, just good imagination.