You don't have to be a parent to know this. All but the most Scrooge-like among us are aware that at a certain age each child inhabits his or her own kingdom. The kingdom may travel with the child like Pigpen's dust cloud or Linus' blanket. It has its own child-serving laws ("In my kingdom you can leave ice out for 500 days in the steaming heat and it won't melt") and a language that can confound those with a more limited understanding of the king's English.
The child may be king or queen, prince or princess, knight or sorcerer. My 5-year-old son Misha tried on several personas but soon found his calling as a dragon, and not just any dragon--the king of the dragons.
The kingdom may move with him, but it took the 2nd Friday Art Walk in Carrboro to bring Misha to his throne. The art walk is one of the region's truly walkable events. Eleven venues with a wide variety of art exhibits can be found in the half-mile stretch from Sizl Gallery on East Main Street to Carrboro Town Hall on West Main.
Halfway along the route lies Nested, part art gallery, part specialty/novelty shop, offering endlessly interesting browsing that owner Jenny McMillan hopes will lead shoppers irresistibly toward a purchase.
I was contemplating the art exhibit when Misha came running in from the other room.
"Daddy," he called, "I found my throne!"
Indeed he had. The item in question was a large, brightly shining metal chair ("silver," he called it) with stars and a moon cut into the metal. Spacious even for an adult, it was a fit throne indeed for the king of dragons.
The "Moon Chair," as the work was titled, was actually a design of the prominent sculptor Don Drumm, fashioned from aluminum with a plasma cutter wielded by the artisans of Cricket Forge of Durham. The price was $600.
We calculated the number of weeks of allowance it would take to secure the precious chair. It would be a while (12 years, actually), but what is time to a 5-year-old?
Months passed, and each Art Walk would find Misha seated regally in his silver chair. Then, one month, the "Moon Chair" was gone, returned unsold to the folks at Cricket Forge.
But Misha's desires had moved on and he was soon plunking down $6 of his savings around the corner at Fitch's Hardware for a surge-protecting power strip of his very own. Now his nightlight is safe from the vagaries of alternating current.
Last month at Nested, Misha found a kit to make a cardboard, pin-hole camera--only $30.
"Let's put it on the list for your birthday," I told him. He crossed his arms and pouted for a minute and then dashed off to examine the paintings next door.
The next 2nd Friday Art Walk happens Sept. 8. For more information, visit 2ndfridayartwalk.com.