On my drive home from a babysitting gig this evening around 11:30, I flicked my brights on absentmindedly and realized a minute later that something felt weird. I couldn't remember the last time I'd used my brights. You sure don't need them in Maui, unless you're driving the road to Hana at night. Which you should never do. There are too many cars on the crowded island to allow the use of high beams (and the luminescent stars and moon practically illuminate the road for you anyway). The rest of my days this past winter had either been spent in Seattle or Coeur d' Alene, where the city lights are enough, or the traffic is too frequent to warrant the use of your brights for more than a few seconds at a time.
As I swung around the many winding curves from Roche Harbor to Friday Harbor, cautiously eyeing the glowing orbs that were deer eyes bobbing along the pitch-black roadside, I realized what a privilege it is to live in a place where you can use your brights. In a way, it means solitude. It means, even if just for a few moments, or a few minutes, or an hour, you can have a stretch of road all to yourself. Everything was illuminated so clearly - and it was all for me, and no one else. It wasn't even that I was excited about being able to see a bit better. Yes, that's important, but what excited me the most was the realization that this special, isolated place is sparsely populated enough to warrant the use of my brights.
I like the small town feel of this place. I like chatting with the other crew and captains docked alongside me when I'm prepping the boat for a whale watch. I like being someone's "regular" barista and knowing their "usual" drink. But I also like that it's so easy to escape from everything and everyone when you need to. A quick drive will take you to a deserted stretch of forest or beach. I can hike for an hour and not see a single soul some days. I like to have something to myself. I like enjoying a bit of scenery that no one else in the whole wide world is enjoying at that precise moment. So, I guess I like to live somewhere you can drive with your brights on.
I did flick the beams off for a few passing cars. But it was nothing compared to the traffic I've dealt with before. So, while blasting some ridiculous country pop, I cruised down that road just before midnight and I felt really, really alive and blessed.