The dentist did his best with my root canal, and I went home, took some pain killers, and fell asleep. I woke up still feeling drowsy, so I went out into the backyard for some fresh air. Sitting at the table under the big umbrella on the deck was Darwin. He gestured for me to join him. I sat down and told him I was a big fan. “Yes, I know,” he said. “I read what you wrote about me being in Heaven, and you’re right. I also do appreciate your finding that letter I wrote to Wallace” (See The Story of my Greatest Discovery).
This made me very happy, although I was already starting to realize I was dreaming. Still, how often does one get to chat with Darwin? So I just went with it.
“Where are your horses?” he asked me. “We don’t use horses anymore. We have cars,” I told him, and I led him to my old Toyota for a ride. Darwin was impressed. He expressed amazement that at such enormous speeds none of the cars bumped into each other, but I told him it does happen. We drove into the town, and he asked where the factories were, why the air was so clean, why the streets were not filthy, and then he figured it out (“Ah, yes, of course, no horses”). The dream (which by now it clearly was, even to the dreamer) then took on one of those snapshot qualities, where we made brief appearances at various localities: a restaurant, a hospital, a school, a university, and a biochemistry research lab.
Back on the deck Darwin began a long lecture, only part of which remained with me when I woke up. He was ecstatic at the things he had seen. I started telling him about WWII, terrorism, and global warming, but he waved me quiet. “Of course, I know all about those things. We try to keep up to date with all the disasters down here, and we do get regular updates from freshly arrived victims, you know.” But he told me that things like computers, cars, and cures had gone unnoticed, at least by him.
“You know, despite everything, you people have made a great deal of progress in the past century and a half. And I daresay I expect this trend to continue. If I weren’t already in Heaven and in the know, I might venture to say that there is the appearance of a divine hand in all of this” – with a large gesture he indicated my humble house, the small garden, the driveway and the street beyond. Then he stared at me. “You are a Christian, are you not?”
“Good fellow. I can see now where I went wrong. I know that bad things still happen, but a lot less than they used to. So, if we extrapolate forward a bit, it appears that God is correct (as usual), and the Kingdom will indeed come to Earth. Now I understand why Jesus is always in such a good mood. Well, I must dash. Very good to have met you, and all the best.”
And then I was alone… well, not quite, my wife was sitting quietly next to me. I resisted the urge to tell her all about my visit from Charles Darwin. I thought I would wait a bit and tell her along with all of you readers.