The Rat and Mole are struck with wonder and awe, surrounded by light. Who does the Rat see in the "utter clearness of imminent dawn"? How does this chapter show that the Rat is very attuned to nature? (Chapter 7)
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Rat saw Pan, holding pan pipes and standing over a sleeping otter. (He is an allusion to the Greek demigodPan.) They instinctively fall to the ground and worship him, but forget the experience as soon as they stand back up. Pan has also disappeared.
Trembling he obeyed, and raised his humble head; and then, in that utter clearness of the imminent dawn, while Nature, flushed with fulness of incredible colour, seemed to hold her breath for the event, he looked in the very eyes of the Friend and Helper; saw the backward sweep of the curved horns, gleaming in the growing daylight; saw the stern, hooked nose between the kindly eyes that were looking down on them humourously, while the bearded mouth broke into a half-smile at the corners; saw the rippling muscles on the arm that lay across the broad chest, the long supple hand still holding the pan-pipes only just fallen away from the parted lips; saw the splendid curves of the shaggy limbs disposed in majestic ease on the sward; saw, last of all, nestling between his very hooves, sleeping soundly in entire peace and contentment, the little, round, podgy, childish form of the baby otter. All this he saw, for one moment breathless and intense, vivid on the morning sky; and still, as he looked, he lived; and still, as he lived, he wondered.
It is telling that Rat first hears Pan's song, and that he is the one capable of recalling its lyrics. To some extent, this is merely a reflection of Rat's interest in poetry - nearly every chapter features him working on a song or poem. A more poignant explanation, however, lies in his connection to nature. He has always been more attuned to the power of the natural world - this is largely what draws Mole to him - and thus is he able to recognize Pan's presence more quickly.
The Wind in the Willows