This ignites me...

The restorative power of trees

Kate Howe, executive director of MSQ, looks to nature to find perspective and focus

By Kate Howe

One of the joys of working in our industry is the sheer number of daily encounters you have that can leave you feeling invigorated.

So rather than take on the impossible task of picking one particular book, film or person that I turn to for inspiration, I’m going to pick a place. And one very particular thing about the place that always leaves me in awe.

I live in Dorset, in a small village that couldn’t quite be considered ‘middle-of-nowhere’ but is certainly a far cry from the hustle and bustle of Covent Garden. And every single time I return home, I look up, up, and up a little further at the tallest of trees that sit imposingly near our house.

There’s nothing particular special or rare about these trees, other than their phenomenal size. But planted before I was born and likely to be there long after I’m gone, they give me a perspective on life that always leaves me feeling rather humble.

I’ll try and avoid making this all sound overly hippy. Still, there’s something about escaping to nature that’s incredibly powerful when you’ve spent all day worrying about deadlines.

Suddenly, the stress over the deck you’ve got to write but can’t find the time because everyone else is on holiday and there’s still three case studies missing and the creative team suddenly want to rework the signed off route and the logo on page 15 is the old one and actually has anyone booked the room for the run-through yet and will everyone be there or on Zoom and if it’s on Zoom let’s hope the internet connection is strong enough because it cut out for a few seconds last week all seems a little, well, silly.

Yes, they are problems that need to be solved. But solved they can be. There’s no use getting unnecessarily fraught about every small issue. And it’s definitely important to keep hold of the bigger picture.

For some reason, seeing those trees always makes me take a second to breathe. To step back. And then feel ready to go again.


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