The Inner Landscape


I’ve been playing Solitaire all my life, or at least all my life I can remember. Once upon a time I was a little girl playing with Chessie and Peake. Now in the middle of my life I choose the background for Hoyle Card Games on my computer.

My grandmother played a lively version of double Canfield called "Pounce," if by lively you mean vicious. When The Father of My Children and I were newly engaged, in long ago 1983, and he needed nursing for a case of the flu, I decided to teach him Pounce, thinking it would be an amusing way to spend an afternoon with an invalid.

We played one game, and he said, "I am never playing cards with you again."

I guess I like to win.

Who plays Solitaire with a deck of cards anymore? I tried doing it when my laptop was in the shop last summer, in our air-conditioned dining room, at the big, slippery table where I used to enjoy sitting catty-corner with my mother, and my grandmother, too, playing Pounce. But it’s just not the same anymore, sort of like going back to setting your own pins at the bowling alley, I suppose.

Computer Solitaire is both a gift and a curse to those of us who are mildly compulsive.

I will play the same game over and over again, determined to finally defeat La Belle Lucie. (Don’t let her name deceive you. She is not beautiful. She is EVOL.) It is crazily satisfying to win a little card game, playing only against myself. I feel relieved when I see all the suits built up tidily to the King.

I like resolution.

Tonight, La Belle Lucie is the only thing giving me that satisfaction. My drain is still clogged despite a visit from Mr. Snake, wielded by Snowman and his dad. My dog is still, well, clogged, too, despite an expensive visit to the vet, financed by the hard-working Pure Luck. The same flashlight I used to illuminate our plumbing adventures will accompany Sam into the backyard to shine a light on his efforts.

Most of the time life is like Solitaire. We try again and again, and we don’t succeed at sorting things out completely. But we have hope that the next time things will be different. And so we shuffle the cards again, and we deal.

10 thoughts on “Solitaire”

  1. I play pounce too only I call it Nerts! And it is by far one of my most favorite games. I’d play with you any day, Songbird. How bout Pure Luck? Will he?
    Thinking of you in these solitary days.

  2. I am assuming you are playing double solitaire – and Scrabble.. oh my… my evil genes come out and I am relentlessly competitive in that game!
    On that note, I need to check to see if this new laptop has solitaire……

  3. Oh, I looove to play solitaire on my computer…the last time I played it with real cards: I was visiting family in SLC and did not have access to a computer. I played cards every night, in hotel rooms during the drive out and while hanging with my old Dad. I could talk and play at the same time. And kids would help me win or lose…but the computer version. addicting. i may have to go play a game right now…thinking of you, SB, during this time of solitude – 5 weeks is a long time. Wouldn’t Jung have something to consider, some shadow side of life, with the trilogy of clogged drain, clogged dog, and the emotions around 5 weeks of solitude? I wonder…

  4. Alright.
    My grandmother and GreatCousinAgnes used to play a version of Solitaire with me that they called “Sir Hinklum Funnyduster”.
    Anyone ever heard that? Or is it just a “grandmother-invented word”.

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