Canes Covering Coronavirus, Connecticut

A road once traveled: West Road goes from booming to barren

Alena Williams
Ellington, Connecticut
11 p.m. Saturday, April 4, 2020

A road once traveled: West Road goes from booming to barren

The time is 12 p.m. I’ve just awakened because I’ve been on “quarantine time,” as I’ve been calling it, since the president ordered a lockdown for Connecticut more than four weeks ago.

I roll over and look out my window, which reveals one of the main roads that runs through three small towns in Connecticut — West Road.

There are barely any cars on the road at this time. I’d estimate about 3-4 per minute. However, this seemed unusual to me because of the number of families walking around my neighborhood. I thought back to two days prior when I saw children walking on the sidewalks and large families walking up and down the street around this time.

Looking back out on West Road, I think about how it once was a road that had almost everything you needed: grocery stores, small shopping plazas with both commercial and local goods and restaurants. Now, all of these, except the one grocery store, “Big Y,” are all shut down because of the quarantine. You now have to travel two or more miles south on West Road to go into the next town and order from restaurants that are doing take-out only.

Text Box: Local grocery store, Big Y, currently open 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. , is one of the only businesses open on West Road.
Local grocery store, Big Y, currently open 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. , is one of the only businesses open on West Road.

Traveling 20 minutes north in the opposite direction leads into Springfield, Massachusetts, a town my family grew up in and where I would probably be spending most of my time if it weren’t for this quarantine.

By 5 p.m., I witness a handful of cars speeding down West Road, almost as if everything were normal again. A motorcycle zooms past loudly blasting country music from his speakers. As I watch the motorcyclist race past, I do a double take at someone riding a horse on the family farm my family home overlooks. Although this wasn’t particularly unusual for this part of Connecticut, it was pretty unusual for this time of year; summertime is usually when the farm owners use their horses for recreation.

No longer taken aback by the “mega-country-ness” I just witnessed, I started to notice that although it originally seemed like there were a lot of cars on the road at 5 p.m., by 5:30 p.m., West Road was back to barely having any cars passing through at all. It seemed as though there were only short “bursts” of many cars on West Road, but it eventually would slow down to be little-to-no cars minutes after. This reoccurred for about two hours.

It is now 10 p.m. and it is so quiet on West Road that I can hear the birds still chirping from my open window. A few motorists leisurely drive down the road. I assumed it would be this way until the few people deemed as “essential workers” go to work in the morning, or until people needed more supplies again later in the day.

As I gaze out my window one last time, I wonder how long it will be before we can enjoy the mundane pleasures of life once again, and I wonder when the next time the traffic that usually on exists on West Road will return once more.

Unfortunately, I feel as though it may be a while.

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April 9, 2020


Leah Harper

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