This is the amazing sculptural screen I encountered on a recent visit to the Mercer County Public Library in Harrodsburg. (My friend Mary’s art quilt, Hollyhocks, is on the wall in the background. More pictures and a reflection on the library are at The KaBooM Writers Notebook.)

The 15-foot screen, by Erika Strecker and Tony Higdon, takes elements from the rural life of historic Mercer County and makes them into art. Tools were donated by local farm families and incorporated into the work.

The piece is beautiful, dramatic, and also inspiring. To look at this sculpture is to see the disparate elements of a life brought together to make something beautiful. The framework sectioning the screen lends strength and order; the lines, curves, and angles in each contribute life and movement as well as an emphasis on the particular tool or task.

It is a visual teaching about bringing an honored and valued history into a new context, claiming our deep roots and long-held identity while thinking about them in new ways. This piece of art, deeply connected to the place where it is installed, feels like it belongs.

Life challenges us to integrate our toil and dreams, our abilities and needs, our history and future, while living fully in the present. A piece of art that accomplishes such a task, with authenticity and grace, is somehow encouraging.

What helps you see the elements of your life together as a meaningful pattern?