I sit at my laptop to reflect upon theology and how I'm going to present a piece of work which ends with the words, "This is how theology is done.' I wait for inspiration and my mind struggles around the idea of encounters, wondering whether or not we meet God through all encounters of any description - human and non-human, animate and inanimate - and whether or not it has to be named as theology for theology to take place. This opens up a host of new questions which grasp helplessly at the very nature of the Godhead. I find the task somewhat daunting and inspiration non-existent, so I click on "Solitaire' and turn to my favourite game of Yukon. Perhaps it will relax my mind and allow some ideas to flow. Or perhaps not.
I begin to organise and arrange the cards, black on red, red on black in order of descending values. I move blocks of cards. I follow a few simple rules which I have evolved over many hours of time-wasting, but which seem to help if not followed too slavishly. There is a need to be a little flexible with Yukon.
Whenever I have a choice, I elect to turn over a hidden card. And I elect to turn from the largest pile of hidden cards as soon as I can. When there's a choice between playing an ace and turning up a hidden card, I generally (although not always) opt for the hidden card. I often use the "snapshot' option which the programme provides. This allows me to bookmark a move, so that if the move fails to work out x number of cards down the line, I can return to the snapshot position and take the alternative choice.
Sometimes I get almost to the end of the game only to be blocked by one card, say the eight of clubs. This wretched eight of clubs has just three hidden cards beneath it, so I know I ought to be able to get out, for surely I can find a way of turning up those last three cards. I decide to reverse all the way until I find the other black eight, the eight of spades, hoping to use it to replace the eight of clubs. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes there is no hope of success, for there are too many cards of the same colour. Yukon needs a rich variety of blacks and reds.
I like to keep my aggregate score above 70%, so when I drop below 70% I usually clear all the past statistics and start again with a clean sheet.
Sometimes a single card quite early in the game holds the key. If I make the wrong choice, I fail. And it's rarely an obvious choice; it can be quite convoluted. Sometimes there are lots of choices and they all work. Then the game is easy, but I discover that I don't like it to be too easy. Sometimes I struggle and struggle, trying out endless different combinations of moves. This is usually when I'm running at around 80%. I try less hard when my score drops.
When I start with a clean sheet and the first game is a failure, I wipe the statistics immediately. I keep starting again until I meet with a few consecutive successes. My husband calls it "cheating' and perhaps I simply do this to kid myself that I'm better at the game than I really am.
When I'm tired, I've noticed that I fail more often. Yukon can be quite a brain workout.
When I've satisfactorily wasted a couple of hours, I grow tired and give up. But I like to give up when I'm on top, so to speak, so that my aggregate score remains quite reasonable. It's called "pride'. I can afford to stop now, for tomorrow is another day with many more Yukon games to puzzle out. They are always there, always different, always available, always a challenge.
This is how theology is done.