This summer, I’ve been hitting the rec center for a ½ mile swim every morning before work. An unexpected pleasure in this is being able to get out of the house within 15 minutes of waking. I literally can put on a bathing suit and yoga pants and head out the door. (And only once did I finish my swim to realize that I didn’t have clothes to wear to work!) I’m really lucky to have at my disposal three recreation centers through my job. I go to the one closest to work. At opening time, only the die-hards are waiting for the door to be unlocked. The pool is all lap lanes; there’s no room for splashing and playing, so you’d better be serious about your swimming to enter. The natatorium is pretty quiet in the morning. The wall that isn’t visible in this picture is floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the center’s lawn, so the morning light streams into the pool area. The swimmers don’t talk to each other in the pool; we’re all swimming constantly. I have made a few friends in the locker room, though. A couple of retired faculty ladies come in every Tuesday and Thursday. Their names are Marie and Ruth and everyone there seems to know them. I recently learned that Marie has blood cancer and is undergoing chemo and occasional transfusions. And she’s 84, although she looks 20 years younger. Despite her age and health challenges, she drives her friend in at the crack of dawn for a swim twice a week . . . I find her so inspiring. And Ruth, her friend? Well, she’s perfectly healthy and very friendly. She doesn’t usually swim as long as Marie does; she’s got to get out to the lobby where her fans are waiting. Everyone loves seeing Ruth, just because she shows up twice a week. Ruth, you see, is 96. Ninety-six years old! I can’t believe how close that is to 100!!