He sat on the ground on a hill. It was not a large hill. It was not quite a small hill either. It was, simply, just a hill - a slight mound of dirt rising slightly higher than another mound of equally dirty dirt. The point wasn't that he was on a hill. The point was what he saw from his hill - for he liked to think it was his hill.
Aloft, he would probably say, nearly a hand's width above the horizon was the golden, burning globe of bronze. He couldn't help look at it. It was stunning. Then he would blink and in the sudden darkness, the burnt orb would flutter a pinkish purple, bouncing higher in his vision the more he blinked. It gave him a headache looking at the sun, but it was comforting; when the sun went down he would miss it.
He came here a lot, this dirty hill. It was a nice hill that lifted him above the runners and the blacktop ringing the pond below. Up here, nobody ran past him in brilliant, distracting colors. Truthfully, no one really paid him any mind at all. He liked it that way. Years ago, this hilltop had been the place he read his cerebral novels, trying to understand the world he saw. He tried to find order in the chaos as the sun set. He was a reader.
He would read until the end of day when the golden globe that greeted him everyday rested beneath a quilt of tiny, brilliant pinpricks. Mostly, he would be engrossed in the follies of a protagonist and miss the fleeting wisps of bright fuchsias and violets streaked across the sky.
As years gathered, he left the books at home, disillusioned by their idealism and optimism. He focused inward instead, finding the simple things he liked - comfortable shoes, cozy sweaters, and hot coffee - and pursuing them in everything he did. Somehow even disillusioned, he would never stop looking upward walking through the dingy streets of his city (awe was a hard thing to shake off). And he would never stop visiting that little hill of his.
In his older age, he picked up painting, hoping to capture the setting globe of warmth on canvas. He hoped to keep those moments forever instead of the fleeting echoes he saw when he closed his eyes. But his pictures lacked this or that and soon he gave it up. With a brush in hand, he thought, he could never quite capture what was so majestic about that beautiful view.
So he picked up photography. He stood atop his hilly hill and snapped photo after photo, looking at the world through a viewfinder. At home, he would hang his photos in his basement, treating them in his dark room. When they cured, he would pull them out and place them on his table, but roll after roll of film yielded nothing that could match the awe of his singular view atop that hill. With a camera in hand, he thought, he could never keep the sun from it's slumber.
As age kept building, the man (for now he was a man, long from the idealism of his youth) picked up a pen and paper. He sat at a weathered picnic table as the sun slowly sunk below the horizon, weaving wonderful words and lyrical landscapes of longing for the view he wished to see every day. But again, though ink flowed and notebooks were filled, he knew something wasn't right. He knew, with a pen in hand, it was impossible to stall the setting of the sun.
It had been decades since he first sat atop that hill - his hill - to read that first book (he couldn't recall it's name any longer). He long had stopped sitting on the ground for the sake of his knees and back; now he sat on the backless bench, cane resting next to him. He held nothing; no brush; no camera; no pen. He let the wind blow through his fingers. Over the years, he had tried to keep the sun, he tried to hold it in his pocket and in his pages. But nothing could stop the setting of the sun; nothing could truly capture the serenity of the moment. And he knew that now.
So he sat quite still and let the warmth of the setting sun gently hold his face, heating his cheeks. And he smiled a big smile.