As kids, we always called the hill a mountain. Even now, it could pass as a mountain in my mind. This wasn't any leisurely hike. There was no path, and it was STEEP: the type of steep where I would find myself on all fours clutching bushes with my hands for half the way up.
When we got to the top, the view was amazing, and we'd watch the sun rise.
Like many traditions do, this one has kind of fizzled away.
The last time we went, I was a sophomore in high school and had just gotten my very first camera. It was a hand-me-down Nikon CoolPix made in 2002 that I had to duct-tape for the AA batteries to stay in, but man, I loved that thing.
We had gotten a bit of a late start on the hike, and the sun started rising before we hit the top.
I remember being amazed by the light and shadows in a whole new way with that little camera in my hand.
I remember thinking about how weird it is that the sun rises and sets every day, and how weird it was that we thought that was normal.
I remember thinking about how the beginning of a day can mean so much, especially if you climb a hill to meet it at 4:30 in the morning.
I later went through all my photographs from the morning, chose a few reference pictures, and made my very first complete acrylic painting.
People always ask me what this painting is about. They say it looks like men going to war. They say it looks like hunters coming back with game. They say it looks like vagabonds traveling through the wilderness.
It's a picture of ordinary people, climbing forward to meet the new day. It's coming.