Foreword to Lingering Spirit (copyright 2003 Judy O'Bannon)

A haunting and yet an encouraging journey awaits you as you engage in an exploration of the soul of a people, found in the photographs of the objects they've left behind. In Lingering Spirit, John Bower has stripped away the overgrowth that accumulates and hides from us the remaining skeleton of a previous time and place. Through his eye, we feel the message not just of those who went before us, but our own inner wailings of today and hopefully our resolve for tomorrow.

I often ask myself why I drag home abandoned pieces of rusty metal, old worn wooden broken parts, and fragments of pottery and glass. Why do I long to touch and see and even heal remnants of the workings of yesterday? Why do I like "old stuff?" It is because people have rubbed against them as they did their dance with life and left their marks. For me, it's an intimate experience that evokes the very spirit of people heavy walked this path before me. As I feel the objects with my hands and see them with my eyes, their spirit connects with mine. I sense my belonging in the ongoing web of the community of life. And, for the moments of wonder and for the acts of neglect, we are all there together.

The photographs in Lingering Spirit speak to us as a beacon, urging us to experience the essence of the human journey. This is a book of our story. The story of each of our every days that grow to form the shape of our destiny. Through the images of old cars, worn barns and abandoned homes, John Bower introduces us to ourselves.

Just as I'm sure there is always a new use, a real value, an unrealized potential in old weathered objects, I'm given confidence that there is a future of promise for all of us.

Judy O'Bannon
First Lady of Indiana
August 2003