The economy is sputtering. There's a lot on our minds to worry about. The last thing we could expect to find these days is magic.
We need magic that gives you the giggles, that allows your imagination to walk in enchanted forests with sparkling and bejeweled fruit.
Instead, we live in a pretty monochrome world.
That's true for most of our nation, of course. Most of us spend our lives visiting chain restaurants, department stores and retail businesses. We're fettered to a million things that all look the same.
So when I found Little Feather on Union Street in Concord, I was charmed.
Quirky, fun things have magic in them. That shop specializes in curious and charming, from swinging pendulums to crazy-quilt skirts, to incense and boxes meant for holding nothing more than a wish or two.
I go in just to smile.
I have gone to the same jewelry shop for well over a dozen years for similar reasons, though my old friend Philip Smith has turned over the glimmering little space to new (but fun) management.
Now I tell John MacPherson it's dangerous for me to walk into his shop at 11 Union St. S.: Jewelry there is not only one-of-a-kind; it's glittering with delicacy and charm.
There's delight in knowing our home has treasures on display, if only to jog our imagination and let us dream of the sweet diversity of the world beyond our borders.
Head to Cloverleaf Plaza in Kannapolis, and you'll find parts of that world tucked between Office Max and Home Depot, in a store once owned by Target but now named Rug and Home.
Where red shopping carts and isles of checkout stations once stood are objects from fairy tales and legends.
Massive carved doors from India line a wall. Side tables with golden peacocks and card tables with raised Tiffany-like flowers spreading across the surface glow in the artificial light.
A litter carved from the lightest of woods sits gently on the floor. It could have carried a small, delicate princess of some ancient time.
The place is filled with dreams.
I remember when folks complained bitterly about growth in our region. I was sympathetic. They hoped, as I did, that we would never lose our small-town charm to overdevelopment, to chain retail and strip malls.
Can we have the best of all the worlds we love? Can we keep our little shops and our quirky locales? Can we create more charm and invite magic to come and be at home with us?
I hope so. May we bring more imagination to our corner on this earth. May we appreciate the change that brings that sparkle, and embrace it wholeheartedly.
May we believe in magic, and look for it wherever we go.