The late Robert James Waller would have been 78 today. He was born on August 1, 1939, in Charles City, Iowa. In my post below on the day of his passing (March 10, 2017), I commented on him and his contributions to the world; we would be poorer without the literary, musical, and academic gifts he shared. If the novel “The Bridges of Madison County” were all that he gave us, it would have been more than enough.
In March, Robert, you set forth on the ultimate journey. If you could, I know you would write an essay to describe the wonders now surrounding you, and you’d share it with us, perhaps in the pages of the Des Moines Register newspaper. I’d be pleased to see just one more byline with your name on it. But we must be content with the words and music you left us. And we are.
Perhaps I will see a peregrine today, or I can let my face be caressed by the warm southern winds as I hear a distant train. There will be a waltz running through my mind.
You were my friend, and my hero. Happy Birthday, Robert. I would have sent a card, but I don’t know the address.
As this August sunset unfolded over Winnebago County, Iowa, I was the only person for miles in any direction, and the only person recording this scene with a camera at this place. There is no other record of this event. An eternity of sunsets will follow, but this image is the singular record of this one day’s sunset moment at this one place in the heartland. Is that important? Would it matter if this one scene had passed unnoticed and unrecorded? After all, it is always sunset somewhere on the planet, and sunset is nothing more than a happenstance of light source, clouds, and the viewer’s position. There will be another one tomorrow. Five minutes after this photograph was made, the sun was gone from this August day. The long twilight faded and darkness came . . . but the sunset remains. It is an image of a moment never to be repeated, a threshold at the end of this day which can not be had again.
My friend and fellow author Robert James Waller has died at 77. Most will recall him as the author of the best-selling novel “The Bridges of Madison County.” Recognition for this was well-deserved. But Bob was more than that. A true Renaissance man, he was also a talented musician and photographer, as well as a master of economic theory and management. He was a romanticist, even as few people truly understand the meaning of the word. Go well, my friend, along the rivers and the long dusty roads, through the Iowa rains and past the old westbound trains.
Posted in Announcement, Fiction, Love Story, Novel, Photography, Romance, Writing
Tagged Fiction, Iowa, Robert James Waller, romance, Writing