Beauclair was a very peculiar little village. The light – while lovely – was always a bit…odd. The dawns were crisp and cool, but the mornings, no matter the season, always brought a strange half light. Everything seemed to slow down. Even the birds drew out their bright songs with long calling notes to each other.
Cats stretched on front steps in the pearly light, and as the shadows lengthened along the cobbled streets, when the sun rose towards noon, the light turned dazzling. The pink and cream stones reflected the sun’s brilliance in every direction.
By midday the flowers were at their boisterous best, with geraniums and petunias tumbling from window boxes, roses climbing their way up crumbling walls, and bougainvilleas waving to each other over garden fences. Insects flitted about, their wings sparkling in the afternoon sun. Bees hummed in contentment as they hovered from flower pot to pot.
The brook flowing through the center of the village gurgled merrily, while the tall grass on its banks whispered with enticing voices. For there were more than dragonflies and the scent of lavender in the air in Beauclair.
There was also magic.
Not the ostentatious whizz-bang kind of magic. A more subtle kind, like a happy coincidence that brightens your day, and your night, and the next day. Or the bolt of joy when you find something you thought you’d lost forever. Or when you make the train at the last second, and that cute person smiles at you, and then gets off at the same stop. Or when a child says the toothfairy visited them last night, and shows a skeptical adult the coin found under their pillow, and the adult has a thrill of surprise, since the coin was not their doing.
That kind of magic. Little everyday occurrences that make you wonder.
(The local dialect has 12 different words for Serendipity, after all.)
And one pearlescent magical morning in Beauclair, when the dew was still beading on the rosebushes, a very keen bicycle unhinged itself from the rack and began to roll.
Before it could build any momentum, it slid to a halt in the archway, and thought to itself.
Hmm, well I didn’t plan this very well then, did I?
You see, it could have rolled away on its own in the dark of night, when only the most alert of owls would have seen it moving of its own volition, and not batted a yellow eye at it. (The owls always were very indifferent to all the Serendipity.) But no, the bicycle decided to have a go right this second, when the village was just starting to rouse.
The excitement of moving on its own was too much, too soon, so it panicked. There were too many places it wanted to see, too many country roads to wind along, too many cobbled streets to rattle down. So here it sat, on its own, in the middle of the archway, paralyzed with exhilaration.
The bicycle shopkeeper opened the shop window inside the archway, and the bicycle stayed frozen, balanced perfectly without its kickstand.
“Let’s see,” the shopkeeper said to himself, “who are our first renters today? Doo-doo-dooo…Ah, yes, Steven and…Rebecca.”
If the bicycle had lungs it would have been holding its breath, hoping that the shopkeeper hadn’t noticed one of his bikes had gone rogue, but it didn’t have lungs of course, it was a bicycle. Instead it wobbled a bit on its wheels, waiting for the shopkeeper to go make himself his daily measure of strong coffee. When it heard the kettle sounding off, the bicycle knew this was its only chance.
It turned left and summoned up all the magic it could, borrowing some from the dancing butterflies and nodding hydrangeas, and began to roll downhill, towards the brook. It gathered speed along the slope, and as it zoomed over the little stone bridge and into the fields beyond the village, if it had a mouth you would have heard it whooping with joy.
It rolled and rolled, past blazing sunflower fields and decrepit windmills, past vines hanging low with sun-ripened grapes, and into cool valleys, where its wheels sank into carpets of dark green moss.
Somehow, beyond the village of Beauclair, the bicycle continued on its self-propelled odyssey. It would rest at night, and sometimes get picked up and ridden by those who needed it most. But once they reached their home, or a safe place, the bicycle would take off yet again, driven on by the thrill of speed, of movement, of discovery. It sped across borders and through towns it would never have seen had it stayed in Beauclair. It carried lovers and loners, laughing children and grinning old folks trying to remember how to ride.
Perhaps someday you’ll see the bicycle in your town, and hop on for a ride. Its tires never need air, its brakes never need mending. On and on it rides, leaving in its wake the scent of lavender and magic, that very peculiar magic of the village of Beauclair.
Muses’ Note: Thanks again for helping us reach over 200 followers here on the blog! Our Twitter followers Rebecca and Steven retweeted us, and were featured in this week’s story. Stay tuned for more opportunities and prizes as we hit new milestones here on the blog and on Twitter!