Pages from a Popular History of Grand Rapids

Short Fiction in New River Free Press, October 1975/Reprint


By Michael

White cat on a green lawn.

On a clear day, I know it's forever.

Well, you travel interminably, by bike, by VW, by sneaker. And you see all these houses sitting delicately in the sun. You want to keep going. Then, you come upon a house basking in buttery light, a white cat playing on the neatly cropped green lawn and you wonder whether you still can return to the blue VW and continue into the blue yonder.

Landscapes flash by, meshing into each other, erasing all the forget-me-nots until I see this white cat. I want to rest my trusted VW.

Like the time I coasted on a Southern California smog blanket aboard my minimum pollution device into the airy coolness of Northern California and saw this brown-eyed woman who invited me to park my blue VW beside her own and taste her home grown apple pie.

Her brown-eyed daughter gazed into my blue eyes and called me papa. I stayed longer than I have anywhere else. Perhaps, memories of my brown-eyed mother had held me; perhaps we all go through life unanchored until that quintessential moment arrives bursting with the blooms of seeds sown years and centuries past by forefathers now dust in all corners of the earth.

Sometimes, it’s a quiet, rolling farm with cows and horses, some chicken, a pleasant, unnervous dog. You know the way the road proceeds uninterruptedly, and then you spy a golden rod house standing still as the sun plays light and dark with it and the ripening grain sways gently, unmolested except for quick flights of picturesque black birds and sparrows.

And, then, of course, there are those quaint windmills turning in the wind or silently heralding the stillness.

The white cat springs for a brown-spackled yellow butterfly. The air shimmers. Somewhere a screen door shuts in the September afternoon. The air shakes. The muddy river flows by bramble and bush. Where are the dragonflies? Down with the Great Pan creating a poet? Tomorrow, I’ll be in another time and place. Let’s wade in the water, children.

The air settles.

I ponder. Should I get out of my yellow VW and approach the house for hospitality? In here, in my heart the seeds await another awakening. You open the box, Robert Graves, and within the box is another box. Within the seed one more seed. One more, one more seed. Are they identical in every way?

The air vibrates as another cat approaches the white cat, brilliant in the buttery light.

And as the world acquires the stillness within a photo after the flash, I emerge from my green VW and walk to the house. I am opaque. I am silver. I am green. I am yellow. I knock. My heart pounds. Will my heart bloom? My VW turns another color. O God, what exploding madness.


New River Free Press note in the October 1975 issue on the author: “Michael, an Eastown [Grand Rapids] resident, likes to read and write fantasy.”

© New River Free Press and Michael Chacko Daniels 1975 & 2005




And the following

Popular History Pages


____________ * ____________


A Grand Rapids Popular History


Pages from New River Free Press, 1973 to 1977


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