About a week or so ago LC dropped me off in downtown Arco while he went to visit someone in town.
It was a lovely and very mild day.
The snow that they had received the week before - and that we had received the week before - was almost gone, and on this day I wanted to wander alone for a while.
Free to take pictures, browse through stores, just......wander without my beautiful dog and beautiful man.
It was late on a Friday morning.
For a week day Arco was unexpectedly quiet, and it did not take me long to realize that the few stores downtown were mostly closed.
On a Friday. Late in the morning.
I still know very little about the stone building pictured above, and one of these days we need to figure out exactly what it is.
A museum of some kind?
That would have been my first guess.
With some time to kill and curious on this day, I snapped a quick picture of the building and then one more of Number Hill, and then walked across the road intent on finally finding out what this place was all about.
Pulling on the door handle, it did not budge.
Surprised that it was locked I saw the hand made sign in the window and smiled.
Gone to the bank. Be back in 10 minutes.
The stone exterior is beautiful and it is one of the few beautiful structures in this small and dying community.
Before crossing back over the road I wandered a block and reached for the door of the small thrift store that opened in Arco a few months ago.
The door was locked.
Surprised, I searched for a sign telling me that the store owners would be returning soon. All I found was a bright orange CLOSED sign.
So far I was O for 2.
Crossing back over the road I walked up to the Family Dollar store. It was open and I spent 10 minutes buying both things we needed and things we did not.
Walking to the store next door to the Family Dollar I looked at the front door.
We have driven past this little park a hundred times in the past, and I only noticed it during our last trip to Arco.
As we drove by I happened to see it for the very first time, and wondered how I could have missed it all this time.
It is a small green space that quietly lays between two empty store fronts, and even though it was late fall I could imagine what this little place might look like in the middle of summer.
There was a lattice archway covered with what looked like some kind of vine.
Next to the picnic table stood two large planters, and I could imagine them overflowing with annual flowers.
A lone tree standing in the corner.
Yes. I could imagine this being a sweet little space in the middle of summer.............
I like this little town very much but in reality it is a sad little town.
There are no jobs aside from low paying service jobs and struggling farms.
Arco has ongoing and increasingly severe water issues, brought on by over farming further up the valley.
It also has an increasing drug (and predictably crime) problem.
And as I walked by one empty store front after another I found myself wondering just how much longer this little town could hold on.
My brain always works in over-drive every time I come to Arco, with creative and tangible ways to try and regenerate this struggling community.
But it is not my community and if there is the will or ability to renew, they will figure it out.
Turning the corner I found what I had been looking for.
A large painted outdoor scene located on the side of an empty building..............
It is a beautiful piece of work, filled with blues and various shades of muted browns.
Filled with scenes of water and trees and old buildings and the ever-present mountains, and I stood looking at it for a long time, enjoying the peacefulness of the picture.
It sits back off the two lane highway a little, and it is easy to pass by it without noticing it.
I have passed it many times but on this day was glad that I had a chance to see it alone. It adds a wonderful touch to a town that has few touches.................
On one side of the building that houses the Arco Advertiser (the once weekly newspaper) I found this painting.
Mountains, a river, trees. The picture was painted in sweeping strokes and contained few details, but it was beautiful none-the-less in its simplicity...............
I have seen these signs frequently and always wondered what the story was behind Goodale's Trail:
As I continued to wander in back of the main street of Arco LC called me to ask me where I was.
He was done visiting and was ready to pick me up.
Disappointed that he was done so quickly, I hung up my cell phone and headed back to the main street.............
The snow is gone for now, but I snapped these quiet sunset pictures on a quiet night not long ago.............
They say when you are missing someone that they are probably feeling the same, but I don't think it's possible for you to miss me as much as I'm missing you right now............Edna St. Vincent Millary