I have a favorite website. In fact I added an RSS feed to my homepage so I can see what is happening there every day. It is actually a view of My Mountains.
These are the mountains that I could see from my home as I grew up. Today it was snowing there. It is sunny here. Even though I KNOW the effect it will have on me, which is extreme homesickness, I still have to look at it every day. Most of the time it spurs me on to call my mom and talk to her. This doesn't ease the homesickness, but it helps. I love that cute little lady.
I would sit under the shade of our willow tree and watch the mountains and the clouds that passed over them. I would draw them and dream about my future as I watched them.
After I met my sweet future husband, I watched them anxiously as he had told me that he was climbing the third Flat Iron that day. There are three slabs of rock called Flat Irons. Near that last one to the left of the screen, is the place my dad used to work.
To the north, or the right of the screen, is another mountain, a bit smaller than the main mountain. It is upon this secondary mountain that a star appears every year. For years, this star was lit on December 1st. My Birthday, so I thought that someone knew my Birthday, and it was for me. I was quite innocent that way. After all, my Priest, Father Pat used to send me a birthday card every year, and my Uncle Jude always sent me a dollar bill. Why shouldn't I think the star was for me?
Tradition held in my home town was this star stayed on until 12th night, or the 6th of January, which is the symbolic day the Wise Men arrived. The 12 days of Christmas, therefore start on Christmas and go from there, not end on Christmas day.
On 12th Night, everyone gathered at the local rodeo grounds, about a mile outside of the town, and would bring their drying Christmas trees. Miss Merry Christmas would bring a torch and light the pile of trees and everyone would gather and watch the bonfire. When the fire was out, the star would be turned off for another year.
Miss Merry Christmas was a local High School girl who was voted by the student body. She wore a cute Santa-type dress.
My home town has grown since then. The rodeo grounds are gone, and in its place is a shopping center. It is no longer a mile out of town, but about the center of town. And the star has already been turned on, it no longer waits until December 1 to be turned on. I guess all this is progress.
If you click on the link above, you will be taken to a web cam that allows you to see just about the same view I got every day as a little girl. If you click on it at night, you will see the star about the middle of the right third of the page, above the "s" in the word "buildings".
I still love my mountains. Besides giving me a wonderful view, they helped me with direction. Of course ALL mountains should be on the west of the town. This is how I grew up, so that is law. Isn't it?