Let your hopes, not your hurts, shape your future.
This thought from American evangelist Robert Schuller seems apt when talking about the Upper Murray today.
It's a region that has been through so much in little over 12 months, starting with the stress and danger posed by bushfires that began near Walwa on December 29, 2019.
Then, while everyone has been affected by coronavirus restrictions, the pandemic's impact on a region struggling to recover and needing outside support has been amplified.
These challenges may have been well documented at times, but perhaps not always well understood.
This week The Border Mail begins a special series that focuses on fire-affected townships, what they've been through since the flames were extinguished and what may lie ahead.
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Talking to farmers, residents and business owners throughout the North East, it's apparent every perspective is unique but some common themes emerge.
Community connection comes to the fore; the importance of catching up, checking in, sometimes just to take your mind off things, sometimes to share those darker moments.
But so many of the activities that brought people together - sport, hospitality, volunteering, church - did not go ahead for much of 2020.
Add COVID-19 lockdowns to the enormous work of rebuilding and you have, as Towong mayor David Wortmann observes, neighbours that don't see each other for seven or eight months.
The various community recovery committees have recognised this isolation and focused not just on nuts and bolts grant applications but also ways to rebuild the links between residents.
Also worth noting are the positive feelings, even optimism, amid the ongoing fire recovery.
The Border Mail has been told about a new business under construction, a community social hub that's thriving, tourism projects in the pipeline and, thankfully, a bumper season for agriculture.
As one farmer says, "everybody's over reminiscing, definitely looking forward".
It's been a privilege to hear people's stories, learn more about their experiences and, hopefully, offer some support as they shape their future.