The Responsible Survivialist

What is in a Label?
January 7, 2010, 11:49 am
Filed under: Being Responsible

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”
Lao Tzu, Founder of Taoism.

When I was very young, my uncle Kenneth taught me the “proper” way to fish. Not that glorified city boy way, tossing $5 lures off the back of a four thousand dollar bass boat. No his way was the country boy way.

Old school country too. He was a farm boy who hunted and fished all his life, living in a small town in north eastern Oklahoma. While his younger brother, my father had chosen a path that took him to the big city of Saint Louis the year I was born, and a manufacturing job with McDonnell Aircraft (later McDonnell Douglas, to be bought by Boeing), my uncle stayed a small time country boy his entire life.

In the summers I would come to visit, we’d drive down to the river and set up early morning camp. First thing, pull the John Boat out of the back of the pickup truck and slide it into the water (a John boat is a aluminum flat hulled boat about 12 feet in length). A cheap 5 hp motor would get you up stream. Not fast but it got the job done.

Next thing, time to set your limb lines.

See, limb lines are the best of simplicity. Pick a tree limb that extends out over the river. Attach enough fishing line to drop a hook a few feet below the surface. Bait it. Leave it.

Once you have done 20-30 then back to camp for breakfast.

Give it an hour or so, then go back to check your limb lines. You know when there’s a fish caught because that limb is now down in the water. In that case, haul that fish out, re bait your line and come back an hour later.

It was not unusual for my uncle Kenneth to pull a couple of hundred pounds or more of good eating channel cat fish out on a lazy Saturday morning.

And that is the difference between just playing at survival, and living it. Kenneth wasn’t there for the sport, he was there to feed his family.

One is “Responsible Survivalism“, the other…not.


This World we have made these past few decades is a once a place of wondrous possibilities and endless dreams, on the other, a fragile house of cards waiting for that one small sharp breath to bring it all down. Which one it will be for you, depends in no small part to the attitude you bring to the problem.



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