pandemic pools

March 24, 2021

Once in a while, I’d get to my local pool, cozzie and goggles in hand, only to find that it was closed for maintenance. I was so routined to my thrice weekly swims, that the notification of closure would skip my mind. It was frustrating at times, like tuning in to a television show that’s been cancelled for the week. There was something about seeing the pool empty of water that made me feel sad. Up in Forest Hill, where we walk often, there are so many residential pools that sit empty all winter. Last year, I remember watching one being filled, and feeling genuine glee at the sight. Pools are containers for water, for life; without water, they’re just cavernous holes. Back in December, photographer, David Levene, visited and photographed some of his favourite swimming venues around London. “‘I love swimming,” says Levene, who took to swimming in open water when the pools all shut. “I’m not fanatic or die-hard, but it is impossible for me to ignore the correlation that exists in my life between swimming and general levels of positivity and wellbeing. I find it hypnotic, meditative, and I’ll tend to have my best ideas and inspirations just after emerging from a pool.” For all you who’ve spent a lot of time at a local pool, and who miss your regular swims, Levene’s images may resonate with you. This image here –– quiet, sterile and still –– reminds me very much of what my local pool looked like on maintenance weeks, and what I imagine it looks like today.

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