“Alice! We need to leave; we’re going to be late for school. Have you done your homework and got your project ready to hand in? Alistair, is your bed made? Now, where’s my handbag?”
Alice’s mum was stressed. In fact, she always seemed stressed and distracted these days. Alice hurried out of the house after her. She tried to think if there was anything else she could do to help her mum by using Orange Footprints; helping with the washing up, feeding the cat, making sure Alistair’s room was tidy (he was SO messy!).
Her first lesson was Footprints. Mr James asked them to imagine a Space, their very own Space in their minds. Alice started to imagine what her Space looked like. She noticed that the ground of her Space was covered with other people’s footprints- her mum’s, Alistair’s, and the girls’ in her class who always used Blue and Green Footprints without thinking about what mark they left. Later, at break she told Mr James her Space had other people’s footprints all over it.
“Alice, I think Footprints will help you discover what your Space is really like. It will also help you learn how to manage the footprints other people leave on your Space.”
Later that day, she was walking home from school with her friends through the park. Alice noticed something she hadn’t ever spotted before. There in the old, crumbly, brick wall of the park, partly hidden behind a large shrub, was a little green door. It was slightly ajar.
“You go on! I’ll catch you up,” she called to her friends. Curious, she pushed her way through the shrub and cautiously opened the door. It creaked and swung back. There in front of her was a large and wonderful garden. She gazed around at the sight. The first thing she noticed was the sound- birds singing; then the smell, the heavy scent of blossom and cut grass.
Immediately on her right, with its strong trunk growing up next to the old wall, stood a large, welcoming tree; she knew it was an oak tree because it had acorns. Its strong branches reached down toward the ground; Alice thought she could probably reach up and climb it if she tried. The tree had a metal plaque: Planted on October 13th 2003. “Strange!” thought Alice, “that’s my birthday!”
Beyond the tree, she could see a large area of freshly dug earth, like her grandad’s allotment. There were bright green shoots of vegetables starting to prod out of the ground. Each row had a label; one said ‘School work’, another ‘Help at home’ and a third ‘Pleasing friends’.
To her left, the garden was wilder, more over grown. There was a grassy path cut through the undergrowth; she decided to follow it. The path opened out into a clearing in which sat a little wooden shed. She peered through the window of the shed and could see some rather sickly looking plants on a table. She could just read the words ‘Disappointments, Hurts, Spoiled Friendships’ on some of the labels by the sick plants.” I wonder what the owner of the garden will do with these plants?” Alice pondered.
As she stood looking, she caught the sound of flowing water. “Where’s that coming from?” she wondered. Inquisitive, she followed the sound along some narrow, grassy paths before unexpectedly finding herself at the edge of a small pool. The pool had gentle, grassy banks; its water was clear and inviting. She scooped some up; it was cool and silky to touch- it made her want to dive in. The water seemed to bubble up from deep underground; there must be a spring feeding it, she decided. The pool flowed out into a tiny stream and then disappeared under some rocks.
Faintly, in the distance she heard the familiar voices of her friends calling for her from the park. They must have waited after all. For some reason, she felt she didn’t want to show her friends the garden yet; she felt she wanted to explore it further herself first.
As she ran back down the grassy paths toward the little green door, she began to wonder whether she had discovered her Space; her very own Space. Perhaps this was the very thing Mr James had promised she would discover earlier that day. As she closed the little green door in the wall carefully behind her, her heart pounded with excitement at the prospect of exploring her very own Space in the weeks that lay ahead.....