|Jacob, having just successfully burned his branch|
Photo by Subie Green, with Phil green in the background
Tonight is Epiphany, marking the arrival of the Wise Men with gifts for the baby Jesus. We have a strange family custom which doesn't seem to share much with the Bibical story. When I was a child, we had a neighbor who was an adopted aunt to me. She would invite us to their house on Twelfth Night to burn a branch of evergreen. Auntie E. was always elegantly dressed, usually in a hostess gown, and served luscious treats, though now I can’t remember what they were. I just remember it as a formal occasion, and one I treasured. The tradition she fostered was that each of us threw a small piece of greens on to the fire and made a secret wish for the new year. Of course, you couldn’t tell anyone what your wish was.
I’ve carried that tradition over to my family. My kids looked forward to it as children, and now I carry it on with Jordan and her family and a couple of neighbors. Tonight we did it as happy hour with snacks. I can’t remember from year to year what order we do it in, but tonight it was oldest to youngest. So I threw the first small branch in—it didn’t light but Jordan pushed it in until it blazed, so I guess my wish will come true. There were six of us, and each followed by age—with great cheers when a branch blazed immediately. The last of course was Jacob, who enjoys this immensely. When I look at the photo of him above, I think what a rich tradition he is growing up with--not just Epiphany but almost ass aspects of his life.
|Me, with Phil's seeing eye dogs, one retired--gentle giants|
Sophie, meanwhile, was a pill, peed on the floor right in front of me
I think it was called "Notice me"
Photo by Subie Green
I guess whether or not you believe in this small ceremony—I have no idea of its origins or even if they go beyond my aunt—but maybe wishes do come true. Anyway, I hope for all who look toward 2016 as a better year, that that wish indeed does come true.