Sunday, March 17, 2019

let us keep Fleming still with us

Fleming Best: she soared!

this bright blue day has a chill to it,
red maple and redbud just wakening into bloom,
the hope of blueberries coiled tightly on the stem
as if ready to spring forth any time now,
as always spring seems torn between
the hope of summer and the despair of winter,

my neighbor, my friend, my former student,
drives down our gravel road and finds me outside
washing dust off our cars,
we parry back and forth with each other
so that we can quickly reconnect,
and then he shares the burdensome news 
he brought down the road with him:
Flaming Best, his classmate, 
my old advisee, friend to all of us,
is gone, found at her place down near the coast,
where someone who cared checked on her,
and she was beyond our care now,

Fleming, a great and noble spirit,
housed in a body that medical science and her will
helped function to endure, to thrive,
despite the spina bifida with which she was born,

her soul was always of love, of caring,
of giving far more back to the world
than the world ever seemed to give to her,

my neighbor friend, 
sharing the news with others in their world,
heard a plaintive cry: 
“What are we going to do?  She was our glue.”

Fleming would make the phone call, 
renew the connection,
plan the get-together,
take care of whomever needed taking care of,

at the heart of Christianity is the call to serve,
to care, to feel for those who need the caring,
and to act upon that feeling, that care,

Fleming made the most of her life.

Despite the weights that pulled at her to keep her down,
Fleming’s spirit soared, and made the world a better place,
for all of us.

with love, from Henry H. Walker
March 17, ‘19


Unknown said...

Well done, Henry. With gratitude, Lori Carter

Renee said...

How sad we are to loose Fleming - and how lucky we were to know her. Thank you for writing about her, Henry.

Jenny said...

Thank you, Henry. Beautiful, like Fleming.