An important question for you: If you were flying in a bush plane in Alaska, and the plane went down, and you were the sole survivor, and were relatively uninjured, and were three hundred miles from the nearest inhabited place, and it was midsummer, would you be able to survive until help arrived or perhaps trek out to civilization in relatively good health? Let me tell you, I would make it. I’m prepared. I have my survival kit!
In fact, I’ve had a survival kit of some sort for more than two decades (mostly the same one!). The knife in it is still sharp, and I have enough cord in it to lay a tracer though half of Mammoth Cave and find my way back. I do worry about the alcohol prep pads and the ibuprofen, though. I hear that it might be a good idea to replace those every ten years or so.
So why do I have a survival kit? I have no plans at all to go to Alaska, let alone be in a bush plane heading for the untrammeled wilderness. I’ve never taken a survival course, but I do have three of the world’s best survival books, any of which would be great to have in my kit along with a nice tent and air mattress. I have exactly a dozen knot books; they’re perched on my bookshelf next to my Peterson’s guides to edible and medicinal wild plants. I even have an Ontario machete-type knife that would let me completely butcher a moose once I killed it with a stone or something. My entire kit would actually fit nicely in a firm old Samsonite suitcase. But the biggest bother is the really long extension cord I need to connect my CPAP machine so I could sleep through the night without apnea.
How nuts! Why in the world do some men (thinking me in particular) just have to have a survival kit? Why do we sometimes spend an hour so before going to sleep fantasizing about all the scenarios that would put us out in the boondocks in need of pocket chainsaw and a couple fishhooks with 30 yards of 15# monofilament line? Why do we watch “Man vs. Wild” and half wish we were out there with Bear eating raw snakes or picking apart stumps to find enough termites to make it through the day? Why do I always stop at Gander Mountain or Cabelas (they’re building one only ten miles from me!) to see if there is another survival knife or multi-tool I “need”?
It has to be elemental—perhaps even the Neanderthal gene that somehow never got eliminated from our bloodline. Regardless, I do know that one of my rites of spring is pulling out the old kit to see if it needs just a few more essentials for that inevitable time in my life when I know I am going to need it—all the while keeping in mind that my being 70, that time will have to come fairly soon.
Anyone want to join me on a wilderness trek? Just bring your wonder. I have the kit and a one-pound Leatherman multi-tool and am prepared for all the worst-case scenarios!
I suppose, though, that it might also be wise to bring along a little faith in Jesus’ promise:
“I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?” (Matthew 6:25-30).