Polly and Brad Simpkins invite the entire Island community to visit their wishing tree, decorated with lights and festooned with lots of wishes already, in their front yard at 124 William St. in Vineyard Haven. The tree is a tradition they started in their neighborhood in 1998 when they lived in Fairfield, Conn., and their two boys, Justin and Finn, were young. This year their sons, now 24 and 19, helped put up the wishing tree.
It’s one of those holiday trees with the perfect long, triangular shape, its white lights just enough to illuminate the dark green needles. When you walk up to take a closer look, you’ll read notes tied to the branches: “Wishes for my daughter to be strong.” “Make money.” “Continued friendship with my amazing Island family.” And another note that simply reads “Love.”
Everyone can make a wish, write down their hopes and dreams, or a prayer, and tie it onto the tree. Everything you need to put your intention out into the universe is there for you: markers, paper, and ribbon to tie the wish on.
Polly’s hope is that the wishing tree brings the Island community’s intentions together in one place.
“For me, it’s about connecting community past and present, connecting people in the area and reminding them in this gentle way that our lives matter, and our intention for the people around us and our community matters,” Polly said last Sunday when The Times paid a visit. “We touch the lives of so many people around us with just the way that we approach our lives, and wish and hope and dream things for the people we love and care about.”
If you drop by on a weekend, you’ll find hot cocoa and some candy waiting for you next to the tree. The house is easy to find; it’s right next door to Grace Church.
“So many people care so deeply for each other on this Island,” Polly said. “You can never tie too many wishes on the tree.”
The wishing tree will be up until New Year’s Eve, when at dusk Polly will burn all the wishes in a fire outdoors.
“I’m taking all that intention and sending it off into the sky, where it can really cement and root and manifest as needed.”