Dad said we weren’t allowed to go on the roof, and Mom agreed. But the old woodpile next to the garage was the perfect stairway to heaven. So we waited till it was dark, when we could see into the house but they couldn’t see out, and we climbed Jacob’s ladder, angels in snowsuits.
We crawled up through the snow, under the spruce branches, noiselessly, till we reached the peak. There we lay, cold and still, with a singular purpose – to watch the northern lights.
It seems they were always out the most when the mercury was at the least, but we didn’t care. Shivers are a small price to pay to sit at heaven’s threshold.
They say if you whistle loud enough, the lights will come down and carry you away into the black night. The elders say not to whistle, but maybe their bones are too crackly for the journey. We whistled as loud as we could. We were young, and foolish, and not supposed to be on the roof, but we knew there was something up there, something beyond, and we wanted to go.
I thought if I could breathe deep enough, I would inhale the magnetic fire, and be drawn up to piercing brilliance with the exhale. My heart was pierced, but my feet stayed on the roof.
The next day, Dad looked out the window and saw our clumsy path. He smiled and said nothing.