Warrior Words: The search for silence

For a relatively small town, Wilton can create quite the ruckus. From the blue-and-white-covered student section screaming out “Roll Tribe” at each football game to the iconic Memorial Day parade featuring a cheering crowd and every Wilton organization imaginable, the tiny but mighty population bands together and makes a lot of noise. But even on the liveliest of days, the hours pass by and the town starts to shut down.

Each night, as the sky dims, Route 7 transforms from a traffic-clogged nightmare to just another barren street, illuminated only by the headlights of an occasional driver passing through. The football field’s blinding lights shut off and town center’s establishments close, one by one. Each home slowly goes dark until the cicadas and crickets have lulled us all to sleep. As the night turns completely still, each townsperson slows down and reflects on his or her day in the quiet of the night.

On the craziest of days, I leave my house at seven in the morning and return again at 10 in the evening. A full day of school, extracurriculars in the afternoon, and theater in the evening can cause my head to spin from the whirlwind of people and the cacophony of sound that fill every second. When I finally turn on my car to leave after 15 hours of noise, I instantly press mute on my stereo and bask in the serenity of the silence. My playlist-filled commute to school bears no resemblance to my quiet ride home; those five minutes act as my much-needed decompression.

Growing up in Wilton, we mistake its peaceful qualities for boring ones. But this often-quiet town is not missing excitement; instead, its inhabitants must find their own. This does not mean we need to create the same vivacious hustle and bustle of New York City within the confines of these 27 square miles. What it means is that we take advantage of the loudest and most exciting days of the year (Fourth of July fireworks, anyone?) but also appreciate those quiet walks at Weir Farm or cozy corners of the library. These contrasts make Wilton dynamic, allowing each of us to discover where we feel the most comfortable while also enjoying the incredible community.

Each Sunday, I go the long route to New Canaan for work. While I unfortunately lose 10 precious minutes of much-needed sleep, this allows me to drive through what I find to be the town’s greatest jewel: the reservoir. Windows down, music off, I stop my car and peer over my steering wheel at the glassy water that reflects the brilliant colors of the flora and fauna and listen to the gorgeous silence. I feel small at the reservoir, with the massive body of water surrounding me on either side. The world moves forward, yet I use these few seconds each week to sit still and admire the natural beauty this town has to offer. We are incredibly fortunate to live in a place filled with nature, with the Town Forest, Norwalk River Valley Trail, Quarry Head, and Ambler Farm all serving as refuges for relaxation and sites of exploration.

Ralph Waldo Emerson writes that “to the attentive eye, each moment of the year has its own beauty, and in the same field, it beholds, every hour, a picture which was never seen before, and which shall never be seen again.” The nature surrounding us supplies untouched splendor that constantly changes as the seasons rotate. We use our attentive eyes to discover the best parts of living here as we swarm Orem’s on Friday nights or walk our dogs at Schenck’s Island in the cold fall air. Each beautiful day provides a new perspective on this quiet town, where we get to find something incredible in what sometimes feels like nothing.

Lydia Hoffman is a senior at Wilton High School. She shares this column with five classmates.