This is a story about a girl named Amanda. It takes place in a park not far from her home on a breezy afternoon in autumn. The trees are dancing away their weathered leaves while Amanda collects them for a purpose yet unknown. All of a sudden Amanda finds herself standing before a large wooden door, framed by oak and with a brass knob. She can see no building, no walls or fences of any sort, only a door standing quite still amid the falling leaves. In front of the door and a step to the right stands a man dressed like a teacher. "Excuse me," says Amanda, "but what is this door doing here?"
"Well," says the teacher, "behind this door is all the knowledge in the universe!"
"Wow!" exclaims Amanda, "have you been inside?"
"I sure have."
"So you know everything in the whole universe?" Amanda can hardly contain her excitement.
"Not exactly," says the teacher with a smile, "you see the universe is a rather large and complicated place. Even though I have been through this door many times there is still an awful lot that I am yet to discover. But if you'd like, I could tell you some of the things I know so far?"
"Oh, yes please!"
And so the teacher begins to tell Amanda all kinds of amazing things. Occasionally he draws pictures and even shows her some photographs to help her understand. When at last it is time for Amanda to return home, the teacher ties the drawings and photographs between two sheets of soft bark and hands them to her as a gift. "If you come back each day," he says, "I will share with you more knowledge and gift you more drawings and photographs. Before long you will know just as much as I do!"
"Thank you so much!" Amanda replies. And with that she hurries home, already dreaming of that which she is yet to know.
The sun has hardly had the time to dry the morning dew when Amanda arrives the next day at the door in the park. To her surprise the teacher is holding a basket of autumn leaves, the very same leaves she had left behind the day before. "You forgot your collection of beautiful leaves," he says handing her the basket, "and you might need them today."
"What for?" asks Amanda, puzzled.
"Well, today you will discover for yourself the knowledge of the universe!"
"You mean I can go through the door?"
"I do," says the teacher.
"Oh boy!" exclaims Amanda, "but I don't understand, why do I need the leaves?"
The teacher smiles, "I'm not quite sure myself, for they do not yet have a purpose. But all the knowledge of the universe is behind this door so perhaps we will find out together."
With that the teacher turns on his heel and reaches for the handle. Suddenly, millimetres from the brass knob, he stops. As if remembering something he had taken great pains not to forget he lowers his head, turns to Amanda and says, "After you."
Amanda, clutching her basket of leaves, takes a few cautious steps towards the great wooden door. She reaches for the knob, "Close your eyes," whispers the teacher. She is on the other side by the time she opens them again. Just a little at first. Then as wide as her eyelids will allow.