It was dark, but not late, as we drove at a leisurely pace back into Whitby, expecting the streets to be as quiet as the previous night. As we approached the bridge, though, a drumbeat began… and at, the same moment, I saw the distinctive shape of a well-known banner, black against the harbour lights. In unison, Stuart and I…like children seeing Santa Claus… cried, “FOXES!” And suddenly, it was all about finding somewhere…anywhere… to park.
We’d had no idea they were going to be in Whitby that weekend! What were the chances? With one thing and another, we had not been able to see them dance this year and we were both missing that.
Gary, of course, hadn’t a clue what was happening… and to be fair, neither Stuart nor I were a lot of help, at least not in any coherent sense. Just saying ‘its Mister Fox’ repeatedly is hardly going to be illuminating.
Where do they come from?
They come out of the night…
Where do they go to?
Back to the night they return…
They dance in the dark to pipe and drum and fiddle
They dance in the dark with fire and brandished flame…
No-one knows who they are…
I drove across the bridge.. and back again, looking for somewhere to park the car. Pulled into the station, sent the menfolk off to watch and set about trying to work the parking meter in the dark.
By the time I got there, Crow had vanished and the dance had begun. I hadn’t a hope in Hades of finding the menfolk in that crowd, so shuffled around trying to find a space where I could, perhaps, get a few decent shots for the next Mister Fox book.
With the demons from the afternoon’s Krampus parade that we would have watched had we not been engaged elsewhere, we watched the Foxes dance.
It was a wonderful surprise and a perfect end to the day. (There is a superb panorama of the demons on Facebook.)
I caught sight of Stuart and Gary in the crowd opposite me; one of them bobbing and dancing to the familiar music. Not that I could keep still… I had the camera aimed at the dancing ground, was counting steps for when to press the shutter without looking at the camera and grinning like a Cheshire Cat.
The fire, the smell, the smoke and the music… between them, what the sea had begun, the Foxes completed… and by the time we got back, starving, to our hotel, I felt so much better! You just can’t beat Mister Fox for a moment of sheer exhilaration!
Although not, strictly speaking, part of the official Silent Eye weekend, it was very much a part of my weekend… and one of those fortuitous gifts that just seem to happen when the time is right. It was just a shame that the others were not with us… that we hadn’t known they would be there… although, the surprise made it all the more special.
But our timing was perfect. As Stuart pointed out, had we made any other choices, or done anything other than what we did throughout the entire course of the day, from when we left the café or the Abbey, to when we left the Cod and Lobster, we would not only have missed them, but probably never even known we had. It really was a gift.