What To Do With a Fine Arts Degree

This is what I was working on yesterday–transforming field notes and records into reports. Planning winter trail work and estimating what we will need to get the job done. Numbers and I have an uneasy relationship, but office work is part of my job.

This is today’s lunch spot, Tronsen Meadow. We came down from the ski trail, stepping around elk beds to sit in the sun. To the northwest, the Enchantment Peaks showed their spiny blue ridges above the treetops. The gold of western larches (the deciduous conifer) is mellowing and needles drift to the ground. I leaned back on my pack to eat soup from the thermos. Even though we sat in the sun, we all kept our warm hats on, and the wool coat over fleece and long underwear felt good. The ground is frozen.

What does this have to do with my fine arts degree? Nothing, and everything. The job I am paid to do is not directly related to what I went to school for. I am not sure it matters. What I gained from my education is far more than the sum of classes I took. I learned how to learn, to adapt, to solve problems, to jump through the flaming circus hoops of life. I was exposed to the context of history, philosophy, and critical thinking. I gained some technical skills, and deepened my capacity for observation. All of those things are useful to a Dirt Person in the woods. I am university educated, and there are days when I dig ditches for a living. That’s my choice. My ditches are sculpted and artistic, each one unique. So it goes with all of my days–closely observed, artistic, unique.

I was glad to have a field day with pines and larches, elk sign in the meadow, cool air and shifting light. My body in motion, the company of the crew. Because the piles of paper are still on my desk. Numbers await my return.

One thought on “What To Do With a Fine Arts Degree

  1. …applying what we’ve learned and been exposed to… to what we’re doing. I do it all the time, but never NOTICED it. Thanks, Deb!

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