Night Light Bright

Twice last weekend I drove in the dark, without headlights and without shoes and with uncommon happiness in my heart.

Something tugs at me from my 6,000 mile summer roadtripΒ that my dog, Roxy, and I took a couple years ago.

I want to do it again!

Seriously, why wouldn’t I? It was such a fantastic experience to head out west and blaze my own path across the plains and mountains and deserts, all the way to the Pacific coast and back home.

I still think of little moments from that trip, every day.

Doing it again, or a variation on the theme, is one thing I enjoy living in my daydreams.

Although in my daydreams, there are a few differences. I now know that I would love to have a fully equipped trail-rig-ready SUV that could get me and Roxy, (and Lindsay too) out to the mountains, up and over the gnarliest passes, and back home again in safety, comfort and style. I would have a much nicer camera to shoot with and I would understand the power of a blog a lot better this time around too πŸ™‚

I play around on Craigslist sometimes or the interweb and look at various 4×4 vehicles that seem like a blast to drive. I really do think I will own one sometime, and I will take that trip again, and maybe again and again too. Maybe in the U.S., maybe somewhere else. Hey, I did it once, I don’t rule out anything as a possibility!

So just keep in mind, that I can easily transport myself back to those vista points on the coast, or blazing canyons of California, near where the bristlecones grow, and feel it again.


Last Saturday night, however, the “Kinda” part, roseΒ to a new level.

See I had spent the evening among family. I had been in a sacred place to me. I was honored to give the blessing before the meal. At the graduation celebration for my aunt Julie’s Masters Degree accomplishment, at the OU Lodge, at Pomona Lake, I felt a bunch of real LOVE.

This location, OU Lodge, held ancient memories for me. I vividly remeber being just a little kiddo, trying to roast the perfect marshmallow over a half-barrel charcoal grill, that still is sitting outside the north door of this building on the hill overlooking the lake. Our family and friends had camped a bunch there eons ago, and I loved it then, as now.

That night, we shared and ate and played and everyone walked outside to get the first glimpse of the “Super Moon” poking through the clouds when it started to get dark out.

So finally, after several hours of fun, I headed home.

In the car, with Roxy in the back, I drove across Pomona Lake Dam. I have done it hundreds of times. That night I remembered the many miles out on my summer roadtrip. I talked to Rox, I felt full of love. I promised her that we’d do the trip again sometime, and she’d get a better ride and it would be great.

And as the windows were down, and I cruised along, I decided to take the back roads home, to go slow and enjoy the ride, right then, right now.

That’s when things unlocked in my mind. I was having fun driving in the car with Roxy. I was in a landscape and a place that inspired me. I was in that moment of solitude and freedom and relaxation that I’d felt out there on the open road. I was completely sober, and found irony in how far I’d actually traveled to get to that point, at that time, on that road, which is all right around home, and yet so far from where I started a few years ago.

I am still on that very adventure, on that journey, right now.

But, one thing didn’t match up, from the true feeling, of my roadtrip days.

I was wearing shoes.

So, I kicked ’em off.

When driving across country, covering big wide states every day, and you’re into your second and third straight week of travel in the hottest part of the summer, you get used to not wearing shoes while driving.

It’s liberating! It’s fun! I don’t do it often enough!

I felt so happy at that point, out on Idaho road, driving barefoot, windows down, talking to the dog, it was beautiful!

Then I noticed the shadows cast from the Super Moon. It really was an amazing thing to witness the moonlight and the night-time still countryside all around me. So bright it was, that I figured I didn’t need my headlights either.

So, I kicked ’em off too.

There; I had my moment of freedom, my moment of adventure and inner peace, living something that I keep thinking is waay out in front of me. Unattainable today. In the future.

Nope, it’s now.

It’s wherever I am.

And Roxy too πŸ™‚

So after awhile I had the lights back on, I was getting closer to home, but I had that moment, I got my fix. I didn’t have to go to the west coast to get it.

And lucky for me, I didn’t have to wait long to do it again.

The next night, Lindsay and I had dinner at my parents’ place. Then we drove the stone’s throw over to her parents’ new house that is right around the corner.

We got the grand tour and laughed at how my whole house could fit in the living room of theirs. By the time we left, it was plenty dark, and we had time and some back roads to cruise slow together.

I told Lindsay my story about driving shoeless. I kicked ’em off again. It was storming that night, and the lightning was bursting above and flashes scattered the horizon. Out on a chunk of gravel between Ottawa and Princeton as I slowly moved along, I kicked off the headlights and drove true by the light show of a Kansas thunderstorm.

Lindsay, really wasn’t a fan of that however πŸ™‚ So they went back on πŸ™‚

Anyway, I hope to show you that some of my daydreams and somedays turned into Right Here, Right Nows, as soon as I opened my eyes to the real values of the moment.

Truthfully the experience was so close, so memorable, that it is right in the list with oldies and goodies. And I do like having Lindsay along for the ride too πŸ™‚ Even if she won’t let me drive in the dark. Roxy didn’t seem to mind though πŸ™‚

She’s always happy to be along for the ride. Maybe I could learn to be too.


Aaron Nichols

And FYI, in case you wondered, I just looked it up. Driving barefoot is legal in Kansas, according to a random website that popped up.


I was kinda hoping that I was at least breaking a silly law, while having so much fun πŸ™‚


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