What are some of your special talents? Story worth
There is an old saying that if you really want to flatter somebody, tell them exactly what they think of themselves. Since this a self-assessment, please take that into account.
First the negative. I am a talent-free individual when it comes to arts, crafts or music. I could not learn an instrument. They kicked me out of the music program in 6th grade and told me not to come back. I did better in art class in 7th grade but showed no special talent. I can remember the words to lots of songs and I like to sing but nobody likes to listen to me doing it. I can fix the breaks on my bike. If I try to fix much else, there are lots of left-over parts and “improvisation.”
Improvisation. That is a sort of talent and I am reasonably good at that. I also think I can write well, or at least rapidly. And I am an entertaining public speaker. It was one of my strengths in the FS. At one time, I could give presentations in Norwegian, Polish or Portuguese and was in demand. Of course, it may have been mostly because I would do it. Many colleagues avoided public presentations for fear of getting in trouble for what they said. I had a talent for avoiding trouble in public presentations. I am not sure it is a good talent, but I can talk around an issue and give authoritative answers while not coming down to a single position. I really do believe in pluralism, so it was not as much a challenge accepting many positions.
The work of art I have been working on for years is my forest. It is shaping up in ways better than I imagined but also according to some of what I did or had done. I was looking over some of my blog entries about conservation. I kept notes. I travelled a lot, visited lots of forest types, talked to lots of people and came found lots of ideas to apply to my small patch of land, and took pictures. I sometimes feel small when people talk about managing thousands of acres; my big plans often involve acreage in the single digits. On the other hand, I have put my feet on most of my acres. I have put my hands on many of the seedlings. Though I know that it is unrequited, I love the land and I think that makes a difference to what I do on it. The passion for the land, the curiosity to learn and apply more, this is a type talent. They result on the land is a symphony.
When I shuffle off this mortal coil, I will leave three legacies – my family, my work and my land. None have been my creations, but I have been an interactive in each. I rarely write about the family, even though they are most important because they have their own stories to tell. My work once seemed the most important thing in the world, but the perspective of time shows that I just held a place that many others could have done. The land will persist. The decisions will be evident for decades, even if nobody knows those choices were mine.
There is a beautiful burr oak on the playground at Dover Street School. It greeted me as a mature tree when I showed up for my first kindergarten class. It is there still sixty years later. I have no idea who planted it or when. But the legacy of that person has given me joy for – literally – almost sixty years. If I can have a legacy like that, I will be content. That is talent and that is special.