Our executive editor has a case of the mid-summer blues
By Jim Spencer
I was dawdling around the house not long ago, feeling sweaty and out of sorts and getting nothing at all accomplished, when Jill accused me of having a good old-fashioned case of ennui. I’d never heard the word before and therefore didn’t know whether to be pleased or insulted, so I went and looked it up.
Ennui (pronounced “ONN-wee), according to Mr. Funk and Mr. Wagnall, is “a feeling of listlessness and general dissatisfaction resulting from lack of activity or excitement.” So, as it turned out, Jill was neither insulting nor complimenting me. She was simply describing my usual mid-summer mood. I’m a chronic ennui-nie, dissatisfied with my present lot because it’s mid-summer, and mid-summer is about as far from trapping season as you can get.
This is the most trying time of year for a lot of seriously addicted trappers, myself included. The previous season is far enough in the past that we’ve forgotten its difficulties and are only remembering its high points. Far enough in the past, too, that we’ve got a serious case of anxiousness building for the coming season. But as mentioned, it’s still summer, and the coming season is months away.
Oh, I know, there are always trapline-related things to do even in the hot months. We’ve got to gather raccoon bait for the upcoming year, for one thing, and therefore we’re morally obligated to go fishing. Since when is going fishing a bad thing? And despite our best intentions, most of us still haven’t finished cleaning, waxing, modifying and adjusting all our traps from last season. So there’s still some trap tinkering to be done, and that helps fight off the ennui-niness for a while. And there are always snares to build, and old trapping books and magazines to read and re-read, so that helps some, too.
But mostly I sit around in this deep fit of ennui, and until just a little while ago, I didn’t even know what to call it. All these years, I’ve just thought I was depressed.
I know I’m too long in the tooth and too close to the bone orchard to be wishing time would pass faster, but that’s what I catch myself doing about this time of year. It’s still too early to see the light at the end of the tunnel, but the signs are beginning to show. The FTA convention is set for late June in Pennsylvania, and the NTA get-together in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula happens in late July. And the smaller state and regional conventions will become more numerous as summer starts shading toward fall.
If things shake out normally, one of these days before too much longer, I’ll wake up and there’ll be a nip in the air, and I still won’t have all my trap prep work done. I might get the rest of it done this summer, but based on past history and knowing myself as well as I do, I don’t put much faith in that notion. Because right now, see, I’m in the middle of being a big ol’ ennui-nie, and I’m just too depressed to get out there in the fur shed and go to work.
That’s what September and October are for.
Jim Spencer, of Calico Rock, Ark., is executive editor of T&PC. To contact Jim, send e-mails to firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit his website at www.treblehookunlimited.com.