Closing Thoughts

This chapter was written to help get you started in the creation of VFEs and, in a broader sense, to help you learn more about fieldwork. But how do you know when to stop? It may be more productive to think of VFEs or activities involving actual fieldwork as undertakings that are becoming ready for use rather than as finished products. Here is a nice quote from Wendell Berry’s essay “Faustian Economics” that relates to this concept:

It is the artists, not the scientists, who have dealt unremittingly with the problem of limits. A painting, however large, must finally be bounded by a frame or a wall. A composer or playwright must reckon, at a minimum, with the capacity of an audience to sit still and pay attention. A story, once begun, must end somewhere within the limits of the writer’s and the reader’s memory. And of course the arts characteristically impose limits that are artificial: the five acts of a play, or the fourteen lines of a sonnet. Within these limits artists achieve elaborations of pattern, of sustaining relationships of parts with one another and with the whole, that may be astonishingly complex. And probably most of us can name a painting, a piece of music, a poem or play or story that still grows in meaning and remains fresh after many years of familiarity.