During this COVID journey into the “unreal”, Life Again has added NATURE to one of the Foundation’s pillars. The Pillar of Connection. Early in the year millions of our pristine acreage of forests and bushlands were burnt to the ground, torched to smithereens. Watching for most of us was a view from afar, on our televisions and through social media, however there was a shared pain of something being lost, not only across Australia, but across the globe. Like many things one only realises how crucial it is when it is gone.

we seem to be slowly creeping towards being released from our lockdown.

The fires and the destruction of land, houses and people were a portent of what was to come. Not only for Australia but also the world. Whatever stage the grip of COVID has arrived at in the greater scheme of things, for readers living in the state of Victoria, we seem to be slowly creeping towards being released from our lockdown. It’s been a massive time of fear, loss, trauma, reflection, trust and mistrust. It’s been devastating and for most of us we haven’t been out to smell the air, to let the breeze flow through us, to feel the night air, to witness the changes of season.

It is our senses that have been nullified as we are unable to see beyond our four walls, unable to touch family and friends through hugs and handshakes, unable to hear the hum of human life and unable to taste the foods of chefs and harvests from the earth, and finally we have been unable to enjoy the smell of life.

everybody likes to smell the smell of hope.

I totally miss smell; my home has stagnated into its own bland familiar smell. But one thing I know is that everybody likes to smell the smell of hope.

To be able to get out in the wide world again is a primal need right now. More people are ready to get out and explore than ever before. To learn about the places around them, to learn about neighbourhood villages and towns. To discover our home state in the first instance, recognising that the borders may still be holding us in until the new year.

Sit, relax, take long calming breaths and take in the spring smells.

I was delighted to see that the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne have been opened in the last few weeks, daily from 7:30 AM to sunset. That’s a great start. They are stunningly beautiful at all times, but in their prime in springtime. Revisit or visit for the first time. Use your nose to look at it as well as your eyes. The Oak Lawn is dreamy and romantic, the forest walk takes you into the mysteries of a forest, and relaxing by the Lake – well, you could be anywhere. Sit, relax, take long calming breaths and take in the spring smells.

The scent of Jasmine has always reminded me of the beginning of spring in Melbourne. “Mister Google” shows me that the scent of Jasmine is “incredibly sensual, rich, and sweet.” More poetically, Jasmine could be described as intoxicating, exotic and intense … It’s long been considered an aphrodisiac. It wafts through Melbourne and welcomes football finals, the racing carnival, and shows and Theatre, USUALLY!!! This year it will give us renewed hope for the new year and 2021.

To drive to the Coast, spend time in the mountains, stay over in historic towns, learn about our Indigenous heritage. This country is tens of thousands of years old and most of us have rarely touched, rarely smelt its history.

It’s medically proven that people with high levels of hope have better physical and mental health.

Think of a new world awaiting you! It’s got fear mixed up with expectation. But we must all experience that change and grow from it. There will be a new normal. Short and long term.

But don’t rush into it. Don’t rush back to your old life but be advised that it probably won’t exist.

Journey into the future. With hope.

Become the modern-day Anzacs of your life. Smell which way the wind is blowing and set your sails. Journey into the future. With hope. As only the Australian way of life is able to provide.

Even writing this makes me excited and gives me tremendous hope for our futures.