Living in Gratitude

Given the chaos of the times, there is no other place nor any other group of people that I want to be with as we transition through these multiple crises. Our CommUNITY members living in Patagonia, Sonoita, and Elgin have every skill set needed to co-create a better world. This isn’t an easy process and it is important to hear each other’s perspectives so that we can:




GREATER GOOD and not for personal agendas

A valuable honoring of each other is to speak words of gratitude for everything to everyone. Appreciate those who are our health care workers, the educators, the volunteers, those who work in food production, those who work to supply our basic services for our daily lives. And speak out when you catch our young people doing something right. It really surprises them to hear praise from someone other than family. 

To quote Ram Dass: “We’re just walking each other home.”

Carolyn Shafer


Rick Jones

I am devastated to learn that one of my oldest and dearest music associates, Rick Jones, has passed away in Patagonia. He was a brilliant lyricist, librettist, singer, composer, performer, poet, philosopher, philanthropist, and friend. 

I was introduced to Rick by my publisher in London, England, in about 1970. I had arrived in London pretty much broke, wanting to continue my efforts as a composer. Rick and his lovely wife Min graciously opened their home to me, gave me lodging, fed me and put up with this Texan as a guest for a full month. It was the most of magical of times.

Rick had meanwhile come up with the idea of ‘Play School,’ which would eventually make it to America and PBS. It started when he offered the idea to BBC, which immediately saw its brilliance and seized upon it, putting Rick in charge of developing the program and making him its host. We all watched in amazement as he grabbed his guitar, jumped in his car, and took off to the BBC studios each day, completely unprepared and unrehearsed, seemingly without an idea in the world what he was going to do before the camera and a live audience that day, and yet invariably able to come up with a riveting live performance which over the years would delight kids around the world. Rick was a boundless source of energy, talent and information. He was always giving, never one to ask for anything.

I lost touch with Rick when he moved to California, stumbling upon him in Patagonia, Arizona, about five years ago, where he had resettled. He was eager to take on an idea for an animated film I had in mind. It was a wonderful rekindling of our former collaboration. More recently, he was in the process of putting together a last CD of his individual works with his second wife Val, a beautiful singer/songwriter herself, when he succumbed to the illness he had been battling.

To list Rick’s many accomplishments would be just another long list that touches upon the brilliance of that special, small handful of individuals who grace our world with the arts, falling short of what really mattered about him most, his huge and loving heart. I am honored to have been a friend, a partner in creating art with Rick. I will forever cherish our many thought-provoking, always witty and endlessly fun email communications.

You’ll be sorely missed, dear Rick. Rest in peace.

Jim Lacey

Del Valle, TX


Our various uses of water for mining and food production cannot continue. The vast amounts of water being presently used for mining is rendered unfit for consumption by human, plant and animal. Compared to non-chemical growing methods, chemically treated earth used for conventional farming requires up to three times the water usage for food production. The land and water used for growing food for commercial feed lot animals exceeds the land used to feed humans. It takes 5,214 gallons of water to produce a single pound of commercial beef. Two-thirds of the grain grown in the US is used to feed livestock: Grass-fed cattle is a more reasonable use of marginal land.

I, like you, have an intimate relationship with water. In addition, my mental health is enhanced by seeing and hearing water flow while it brings life to birds, flowers, trees, and other wild-life. The depleting supply of water here in Patagonia can be seen in the dying centurion trees whose roots can no longer reach enough water to support their magnitude. Local wells are needing to be dug hundreds of feet deeper. Our streams have dried up. 

Our problem with water is not the lack of water itself. It is the use of water which lacks human consciousness.

We cannot live without water.

David Krest