In the infant pool multicoloured lights twinkle under foot –green, violet, blue – and a baby reaches a plump hand down through shallow water to touch the stars. I’ve swum my lengths in the lanes and now drink coffee and watch as a woman learns to float in the twenty metre pool. She lowers herself halfway then jerks back up, clutching her heart. Her friend shows her again how to trust in water, how to let it hold you like a child. Meanwhile a white-haired woman riding a swimming noodle like a horse gently cycles past. Her legs pedal through the moonish underwater light with slow pale grace. Now she is doing calf raises, holding on to the noodle for balance. Such beauty and perseverance. Her breasts spilling over the cut of her costume are buoyed by the water and dancing by themselves. I understand the tenderness of the learner pool, but the building is beyond me – how it orients south to optimise warmth, how it captures and gifts cool to the north-facing gym, or how the external thermometer with its exquisite sensors relays data to the building which then decides whether to open or close its louvres, move or store heat – I swear it is a mind that thinks. It’s been designed to withstand the next eighty years. And what will you find there, dear future swimmer? Some of the babies splashing in the infant pool will perhaps be doing slow lengths then. Dear ones, I wish you perseverance and gentle effort. I wish you health. I wish you love that responds like this Passivhaus - that offers to cool or warm according to your needs; and I will the water to cradle your future bones while we who are here now sleep.
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