800 Word Memoir: Chin Up

Recently I lost a knitting project. Walking in some corridor of one of three airports, I lost a small bag containing a scarf that I was working on here and there. There and here. For months. Row by row. Stitch by stitch. No more.

I didn’t notice that I had lost a few months of memoir as fiber.

It didn’t notice until I had the itch to knit. I reached into my cavernous travel bag only to discover that my delicious yarn and giant worn wooden size 17 needles were gone. Poof. Gone.

Size 17 needles are fat thick big needles for you non-knitters. I like big loops of yarn and I had wound those skeins by hand. So tight. For traveling. My yarn stash for the road.

Silky red fiber, big smooth needles. Gone. Dammit. I hope somebody finds my tiny knitting bag and finishes that scarf. Or makes something else. Something. It pains me to think that yarn ended up in the trash. Wound so tight. Then undone.

Chin up. Let it go. Tell a quick story.

In summers gone by, I used to write “outdoorsy” articles, and my friend would take photos of our adventures. I treated my many trips into the backcountry like research. Like anecdotal fodder for a small magazine. Like chapters of a memoir. Like I was on the hunt to gather the perfect words to describe the forest. Like I was a writer.

It’s a habit I can’t break.

Only these days, I’m in front of a computer more than I am a mountain stream. Last weekend, I went dark (as we say) because I had a backcountry quota pass to the woods of the lovely mossy Olympic National Park. Those woods. That rain forest. Those mountains. That green. Those lakes. That valley. Those waterfalls. That meadow. It reminds me of how much I love (and miss) the Washington landscape. How much I love green mossy woods.

Once I left the backcountry, I packed up my presentation clothes, my notes for the jobby job, and my laptop to fly to Houston, Texas. I’ve only been to the airports in Houston, and it immediately reminded me of Atlanta, Georgia when I stepped outside. The South: hot blow dryer feeling of wind, the sauna-like humidity, the extraordinary heavy feeling of the sun.

While I waited for a ride from the airport, I opened up my email on my phone to see the latest letter from Queen of Cups by Queen of Cups. This week a lovely little story appeared in my email. In the 100 degree heat, I read the following:


 Tarot Card of the Week: Queen of Swords

Queen of Swords: She is, above all, truthful, not interested in tricks or deception and will always tell you how it is. The Queen of Swords is not one to be deceived or manipulated. She is worldly and wise, can size up a situation, and is clever in the way she navigates life. However, she isn’t closed to new experiences and knowledge, quite the opposite, she’s eager to experience and learn. She has a good sense of humor, but is also straightforward in a kind way. She is the queen of direct communication, is highly intuitive and sharply perceptive.

You can count on the Queen of Swords to be candid and tell you how it is in any given situation. In short, she is witty, experienced, astute, and forthcoming.

This card asks us to be honest with ourselves and others, to be candid and direct even when that’s difficult, to retain a sense of humor, and to stay conscious and alert, able to intuit the reality of any given situation.

Instantly I was reminded of the class I took from a community college teacher who wrote a book on astrology. At the time, I had a high-school diploma, a smattering of university credits. A lost college drop-out waitress.

In this class, our final exam was to guess the teacher’s sign. I failed miserably! I hadn’t paid attention to him at all. I spent time studying the art on the cards. Look close at The Queen of Swords.

See the bird. Blue of the sky. Layering of clouds. The gathering of the clouds on her coat. The butterfly on the chair. The butterflies on her crown. Art.

The tarot card is like a well-place adjective among nouns and verbs. A story. Symbolizing nothing. A mirror of what we want to see. Under the stars. Look close.

This tiny letter from Queen of Cups seems like an old idea. Simple for a digital literary magazine. Send writers a prompt. Digital joy. As I read this week’s letter, I thought of an old idea that may still be good somewhere.

Might still be a good idea somewhere.

Like here.

~800 word memoir

About Alyson Indrunas

Always learning about instructional design, educational technology, professional development, adult education, and writing.
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