As the sky darkened into purples and grays, little streaks of brilliant orange strode through the clouds. The pool glistened in waves in the night. Lights from underneath and above gave it an ethereal quality, and there was a stunning, calming silence that I didn’t expect.

I’ve been so in love with the sunrise that I didn’t stop to appreciate the sunset.

This week is the final week of master swim for this summer, and the third week of night swimming. I’d missed the first two while on vacation, so I was eager to get back in the pool for any last moments of guided master swimming in a supportive group of swimmers that I could grasp.

I figured I’d hate swimming at night, since I’m up so early every day. But I found I might have loved it even more than the early mornings.

And here’s why:

First, swimming at night is like finishing the last chapter of a book. You come to a close, satisfied, content, and can easily drift into sleep.

And then there is the notion that many people flock to the pool for early morning swim but not many come at night. Especially on a night when it had rained much of the day and some people assume swimming is canceled.

There were two people in each lane – so much room!! And lo and behold, I stayed for the entire thing, which never happened in the morning.

This week, I’ve worked out every day. Sunday was a free trial class at OrangeTheory with a friend and while I can honestly say that jam-packed, power-workouts in a darkened room with a coach screaming at you (encouragingly, of course) is not my cup of tea, wow what a great workout that was.

Then I swam Monday night. And last night, since the water was initially choppy with rain, instead of rowing on the Detroit River, we participated in Erg-Mania, a Candy Land-style power workout game where we raced to finish the game board in teams of three.

I probably rowed (make that power-rowed, fast, hard, exhausting) a total of 2,500 or 3,000 meters in addition to 50 jumping jacks, 50 cherry-pickers and 50 squats.

The sweat trickled down my back. My hair was matted, my face was red. And after, there was that sublime feeling of I did it. Oh sweetness.

My body aches today in good ways, and I feel satisfied. Like when I finish the last chapter of a great book.

And last night, in the coolness that follows a good sweat, Dan and I caught up with old, old friends, friends who appreciate the way words intermingle and form new glimpses of beauty.

I pulled in to the driveway around 11 p.m., tired to the bone, blessed by the ringing silence of the night, and walked slowly into the house.

Even though it was late, we turned on a familiar movie to linger together and enjoy the hours, the minutes, ticking by.

One of the greatest things about growing up is the realization that your time is your own. I can watch a movie now! I can go out for dinner! I can change direction, change my mind, do whatever I want.

While I may be in this rat race of get-things-done and take-care-of-the-kids, it was supremely satisfying to sit around a table with friends I’ve known for more than two decades, being fed by my friend’s mother, like I was years ago, and rest in the idea that peace does prevail, if we simply let it.

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