Near Ponce Inlet, FL – April 2, 2013
I like the stillness of night. Everything goes calm. Boats disappear into marinas, the wind rests, buildings fade into points of light.
I feel stronger, like my body celebrates the hundred victories and losses of the day by burning the last reserves in a giant fire. Muscles loosen, joints quit aching, and my mind goes clear.
It never lasts long, an hour or two and a new exhaustion takes over, fiercer than any in the day, but for a moment, every movement is easy and I relish the black water of night.
I feel connected to the black water in the darkness. I can’t look and see, I have to feel. I notice the little ripples. I hear the burst of breath from dolphins. I sense the swirls of an outgoing tide.
I even feel the Atlantic, huge and heavy across a thin strip of land that breaks open where a lighthouse flashes in the night. Six white bursts every few seconds. I know the ocean is there. I feel it like gravity, this huge vastness pulling at me in the dark, disturbing the water, making it boil and swirl underneath my bow.
I slip past the opening and onto an island, knowing my fire burns low, exhaustion is coming, and my time is almost up.