Dona was married for five years when she looked at her husband and realized she wanted to make some changes in her life. She decided to create her own career and joined the Navy. After 21 years she retired and traveled the world visiting eco-villages. She described intentional communities as a space where people live together and work towards a common vision.
She helped bring to life La'akea community, an intentional permaculture living in Hawaii. As I left to ride my bike home she held her chicken, Freedom, in her hands while waving goodbye.
As I was unpacking I met Ethan when he walked by. He lives in Fort Collins and hitchhiked into town. I made his portrait and later that night ran into him as I rode my bike down the alley. He gave me his number, told me he was taking off, and caught the bus out of town. He recently graduated and wanted to spend time traveling.
Two months later right before I left Paonia I was walking down the street and Ethan came around the corner on his bike, stopping to give me a hug on his first day back.
"You don't find Paonia, Paonia finds you." Case and Shelly on Grand Street. Case has two kids, a 10 and 13 year old, both of which live on the East Coast. "They told me my son has a learning disability but they don't understand that he just approaches learning in a different way."
Jen holding Ringo
Maya in the woodshop for Elsewhere Studios. He built the Gingerbread house I spent the last two months in. While chopping wood one evening the ax broke and hit my leg, I returned one night to a box of wood he chopped and left at my front door.
Daphne holding the sweet peas that she gave me after showing me around her farm.
James with the Turkey feather I gave him
Lance has lived just outside of Hotchkiss for close to 30 years. He grows 90% of his food and harvests all of his seeds. Every Tuesday he hosts As The Worm Turns, a gardening related call in show on KVNF.
Aralia spent 5 months in Paonia before returning to Taos, where she decided to break her lease and return. She was searching for a place to live when an off grid home became available. She had not lived off grid before but decided to give it a try.
Aspen and her Brother on a Sunday morning at the Trading Post. I met their mom, Kemba, who told me that a vaccination caused Aspen to lose her hair. She alters between wearing wigs, a hat, or nothing at all. Kemba wants to raise her to be comfortable in her own skin.