Whatsoever Things Are Lovely - by Juma

Her garden is encircled with green, warmed by buttery sunlight, filled with the earthy, fresh fragrance of flowers. My garden ripples with waves of blue, kept at an optimal temperature by careful management, filled with aquatic perfumes, a tangy mixture of sweetness and salt.

We’re meeting for the first time, visiting each other’s gardens via the newly-invented TimeConnector.

“Grandmother!” I give her a joyous virtual hug. Neither of us knows how many “great-great” labels lie between us. “Just call me Marietta,” she says.

I show Marietta my floating home, half above water, half below. She gasps at the bright colors and exotic shapes surrounding my underwater glass-bubble bedroom and lab. “We managed to save the coral reefs,” I tell her proudly, showing her pictures from fifty years earlier of bleached-out reefs that were ghosts of their former selves. “My grandparents transplanted the survivors, creating a new strain hardy enough to survive the temperature changes until my mother and her team learned to keep the water cooler.”

I want to tell her only good news, but somehow I blurt out the truth. “Those few of us who survived the heat, the fires, the floods escaped to live on the oceans, which now cover much of the land.” Marietta had never heard of climate change. She weeps openly during much of our conversation. I know what she will ask, and I dread the question.

“What happened to the flower gardens?”

Now it’s my turn to weep. She had taken me on a TimeConnect tour of her roses and lilacs, gardenias and lilies. I’d never seen flowers that grew in soil. Their fragrances and textures thrilled me.

“The gardens were destroyed,” I whisper, overcome by grief.

“And yet, you survived. And look at your underwater garden. It’s just as beautiful as my earth flowers.”

The TimeConnector warning light blinks red. Our allotted hour is almost over.

“Dearest Marina, until next time!”

“Much love, darling Marietta.” The fragile connection ends.

My scientist’s mind stores the new memories, tingling with discovery. Lilies. Roses. Just outside my bubble, a dazzling parrotfish swims about in radiant circles.