This past week I found myself in the mountains southeast of Puerto Vallarta, driving on a dirt road that reminded me of parts of Redington Pass, depending on how monsoon went through. We stopped to ask directions of an older man standing by the fence of his finca. .
He spoke a language that was, as far as I could tell, not a word of Spanish. We waved goodbye, he waved goodbye and we carried on to a town called Cuale and peered inside its 300-year-old church. The cobblestone streets of the little town and the green hills of the surrounding mountains, also filled with cornfields, were as if time stood still.
I wonder how 2016 has been for the people in this little town. The corn fields seem prolific, and every little town we've driven through has hundreds of corn drying on the sides of houses and other buildings. That must be a good sign. However, all of us going on another ride on this planet for another year is, well, arbitrary, isn't it? I suspect this will be another year of dealing with much of the same things I have to deal with every year, and possibly deal with a few things I've been neglecting and I can no longer push aside.
I'll still mark this moment in time, or this passing of time, wish you a happy New Year, and especially wish those I work with a most happy year as we continue this work together. My coworker Jim Nintzel is expecting another addition to his family in 2017. I am so so happy for him. My journey into motherhood 15 years ago made it clear what a gift those hungry, crying bundles are, despite the lack of sleep or showers in those first few months. Coworker Brad Allis continues to inspire me as he takes care of two amazing children he and his wife adopted—I love their life together and how every trip around town is an adventure. He's a great father.
Brian Smith continues to inspire me, doing such a great job with the music and arts sections of the paper and Tucson Salvage, his hometown love note. Thank the newspaper gawds for the young ones of our office, Logan Burtch-Buus and Chelo Grubb, who inspire us because, somehow, they still feel this work has something to offer. I'm damn grateful for that.
I wish the best for the remainder of our Tucson Local Media office and our freelancers moving forward, each with their own families and dreams and adventures. I wish everyone a good year with lots of strength and love. I also wish for all of us a stronger community that we embrace with wide-open hearts. I suspect we will need it—really, as we do every year.
— Mari Herreras, firstname.lastname@example.org