Murphy Musick took this photo in February at the Patagonia Cemetery. The flag was being flown at half mast to commemorate the 500,000 American lives lost to COVID in the past year.

If you look closely at the base of the dried, brown grass out in the pastures you can see little flecks of green starting to show up. You may need to put on your rose colored glasses to see them, but they are there. Garlic and onions are shooting up in the garden, and the hens are laying more eggs in response to the longer days. 

Good news is on the horizon with community COVID cases declining and vaccination numbers on the rise. As of March 2, the ADHS reported that 21% of Patagonia residents have received vaccine shots, 14% in Elgin, and 21% in Sonoita. The state of Arizona overall has 17.3% of people vaccinated with a total of 1,857,741 doses given so far. 

The Patagonia Museum, Richardson Park and, perhaps most importantly, the town restrooms are reopening. Plans for tree planting in Doc Mock Park are moving ahead. Calves, puppies, baby goats and foals are hitting the ground, and evenings are getting longer and sometimes warmer – all signs of hope and reawakening. But, as the photo of the flag in Patagonia Cemetery reminds us, we cannot forget the toll that this last year has taken on us all. 

This month is a crammed issue for the PRT. Things are happening in our communities and that is nice to see after so many months of closures and uncertainty. In this issue we start a series looking at the effects of the pandemic on local wineries, small businesses, restaurants, and non-profits and learning about some of the creative strategies they have come up with to navigate this last year.

Our annual series profiling the senior class at PUHS kicks off this month. We think you will enjoy reading about their plans for the future as they head out into the world after a long year of distance learning and classes attended from kitchen tables. 

In the April issue we will be turning our lenses around and introducing you to our team of writers, a dedicated group of individuals with some fascinating backgrounds. Some may just surprise you. 

The articles in this month’s issue reflect the talent and diversity of this group of volunteers. You can read Phil Caputo’s moving eulogy of JPS Brown, the investigations at the Sonoita Fire Station, where to buy local, ranch raised beef, what’s going on at the schools and with the Town pool, and much more. We hope you enjoy this issue as much as we all enjoyed delivering it to you.