Bare necessities..!

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I love Jungle Book, especially Balu the bear and his antics. What I love most is the song he sings to little Mowgli: “Look for the bare necessities, The simple bare necessities, Forget your worries and your strife, I mean the bare necessities, Old Mother Nature recipes, That bring the bare necessities of life.

And don’t spend your time lookin’ around sings the bear, For somethin’ you want that can’t be found, When you find out you can live without it, And go along not thinkin’ about it, I’ll tell you something true, The bare necessities of life will come to you..!”

In Jules Verne’s novel “The Mysterious Island,” he tells of five men who escape a Civil War prison camp by hijacking a hot air balloon. As they rise into the air, they realize the wind is carrying them over the ocean. Watching their homeland disappear on the horizon, they wonder how much longer the balloon can stay aloft. As the hours pass and the surface of the ocean draws closer, the men decide they must cast overboard some of the weight, for they had no way to heat the air in the balloon.

Shoes, overcoats, and weapons are reluctantly discarded, and the uncomfortable aviators feel their balloon rise. But only temporarily. Soon they find themselves dangerously close to the waves again, so they toss their good. Better to be high and hungry than drown on a full belly!

Unfortunately, this too, is only a temporary solution, and the craft again threatens to lower the men into the sea. One man has an idea; they can tie the ropes that hold the passenger car and sit on those ropes. Then they can cut away the basket beneath them. As they sever the very thing they had been standing on, it drops into the ocean, and the balloon rises. Not a minute too soon, they spot land.

Eager to stand on terra firma again, the five jump into the water and swim to the island. They live, spared because they were able to discern the difference between what really was needed and what was not. The “necessities” they once thought they couldn’t live without were the very weights that almost cost them their lives. I end with the words of Paul, who writing to the Hebrews says, “Let us throw off everything that hinders..!”

 

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