Warrior Words: Seeing clear

I have been blind to the beauty of Wilton. Living in South Wilton, my daily views of town consisted of the infamous, never-ending stress street also known as Route 7.

From the passenger seat of my parents’ car, I watched the cars whiz past at 60 m.p.h. as my parents muttered frustrated curses as they sat, trying to make a left turn. I studied the frustration on drivers’ faces in the bumper-to-bumper cars as they prayed to make the green arrow turn at the intersection of Wolfpit Road. I witnessed many sharp lane switches when a car would suddenly switch on their left turn signal, which would fill every car behind them with frustration. I listened to an orchestra of beeps and swears from surrounding cars which indicated that an irrevocable mistake was made. All my senses were consumed by the stresses of this road, so I never focused on the town itself. With no license and no control over where or what time to drive, all my knowledge of Wilton’s architecture and environment were these terrifying vehicles and the tension during rush hour on Route 7.

When I joined SafeRides in the fall of 2017, not only was I excited to spend time with friends till 2 a.m. and help classmates, but I was also excited to see a new side of Wilton; a side without tension, of unexplored areas, with new people.

Since the first night I drove for the program, my whole perception of our town changed. I never realized the size of Wilton; it’s a small town, yes, but as I drove from very north Wilton, practically in Ridgefield, to the Silvermine area, practically in New Canaan, back up to the Georgetown area, in who-knows-where, Wilton felt huge, and I loved it.

These new forests in North Wilton consumed my car, filling my vision with greenery and branches, like a land I had never entered before. The rustles and scurries of animals and random chatters from passengers in the backseat created a song so far from the beeps and swears from earlier in the morning. As I drove to and from houses, picking up diverse passengers with familiar faces that I had never spoken to, the Wilton I once knew became much more complex. It was no longer one road filled with cars, but it had character: there are roads leading to smaller roads leading to cul de sacs that lead to houses where people live. Every part of the town, the field on Nod Hill and the American flag at the intersection of Belden Hill and Ridgefield Road and the Cannondale train station and the historic buildings in Georgetown, all have stories that so many people remember. The town is filled with character that I never saw because my vision was clouded by stress and tension that is really only a five-minute drive at 8 a.m. that is more entertaining than angering.

This setting, late at night, in my own personal car, with friends’ music playing, creates an open space where any and all conversations happen. With these people I had never spoken to, we talk about our third-grade class to our favorite milkshakes from Scoops to the math homework due weeks ago to college to family to things we love to things we hate and so on. In this car during the late hours of night, I form connections with not only the road, but also the people.

From the driver’s seat of my car, I finally see the beauty of Wilton everywhere I go, even on Route 7.

Teena Moya is a senior at Wilton High School. She shares this column with five classmates.