Early in the coronavirus pandemic, the government spoke a lot about the economic bridge they were building to get Australians to the other side of the crisis.
Since then, the economic shutdowns got harsher, the virus resurged throughout Victoria and that bridge got longer and harder to navigate.
Presenting the state of the economy on Thursday, Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg chose a different image.
"We can see the mountain ahead and Australia begins to climb," he said.
It's a big mountain.
Deficits of nearly $86 billion in 2019/20 and an eye-watering $184.5 billion in 2020/21.
Debt hitting $850 billion, pushing through the ceiling the coalition imposed on it.
A further 240,000 people out of jobs by Christmas, driving unemployment to 9.25 per cent in December.
The government's income has had a $94 billion hole ploughed through it over the two financial years while spending has sky-rocketed.
"Mathias (Cormann) and I and the prime minister and the whole government know how much hard work was done to reduce the rate of spending growth since we came to government," Frydenberg said, looking at a graph comparing government spending and revenue since 2014.
Every graph he showed looked like the drafter's pen had slipped, such is the scale of the crisis.
But as Mr Frydenberg and Finance Minister Mathias Cormann were keen to emphasise, it could have been so much worse.
Treasury estimates the $164 billion in support measures - half of which is the JobKeeper wage subsidy - has saved 700,000 jobs.
And while debt is rising, Australia is still in a pretty good place compared to other major economies.
Of course, being able to see the mountain doesn't mean you're ready to start climbing it.
You might still be on the bridge, swaying over precarious depths.
Mr Frydenberg might have presented Treasury's sketch of the mountainous terrain but the government is yet to detail the path it will take to scale its heights.
It has extended JobKeeper and the supplemented JobSeeker - albeit at lower rates - given support for the construction industry and offered more money for training, with exact details yet to be decided.
Other than that, Australians will have to wait until the October budget to find out the government's five-year recovery plan.
Mr Frydenberg's confidence the coalition is up to the task seems largely based on the fact it's done it before.
The ideas being tossed around so far - deregulation, speeding up tax cuts, industrial relations flexibility - reflect the coalition's historical approach.
Measures like wage subsidies and free child care go across the historical grain - but they have worked.
Back in April, Reserve Bank boss Philip Lowe told national cabinet governments would have to change their approaches if they wanted the economy to overcome the coronavirus shock through growth.
This week, he said Australia has to get over its obsession with low public debt and tiny budget deficits in order to get over the mountain.
Labor points out the coalition ramped up the demonisation of debt and deficit.
Plus, the scale of what it inherited in 2013 was much smaller.
One big change in approach from this government's first budget in 2014 is it appears to have jettisoned the fiscal strategy that demanded every new dollar spent be offset.
"Clearly, we're in a very difficult and different time and it also requires a different approach," Mr Frydenberg said.
To an extent, he needs to be optimistic about the mammoth task ahead, to buoy the consumer and business confidence so vital to economic recovery.
But he has to be realistic as well.
The Treasury forecasts were based on the situation right now.
It assumed the Victorian lockdown now in place will only last six weeks and every other state will continue reopening in line with the plan decided in May.
But with persistently high numbers of new infections in Victoria and indications Melburnians aren't following the rules about staying at home when sick or waiting for COVID-19 test results, Premier Dan Andrews has warned the lockdown might have to last longer.
Other states have delayed stages of their reopening as they nervously wait to see how far the virus spreads.
Climbing a mountain where the terrain keeps shifting is no easy task.
Australian Associated Press