The Rocking Chair

an essay on quiet thoughts

The following essay was written last year when our family was living in a small town in Vermont. We’d just moved there, and I discovered the glory of the rural Vermont yard sale. These words are the musings I wrote after buying a rocking chair from a neighbor.

I bought a rocking chair from a woman named Faith.

On the side of a Vermont mountain road, she was holding a yard sale.

My son and I looked quietly through her things, piled on tables and chairs:

a walkman,

a discman,

a bin of crocheted doilies,

a stuffed animal leopard,

stories piled on stories.


“I just want that chair to go to a good home,” she said.

I gently pulled it out of the back of the Subaru, noticing the Made in Massachusetts stamp on the bottom of the seat.

I wondered where Faith bought it, what thoughts came to her as she rocked, who else sat here, looking out a familiar window at the season’s changing landscape.

I put the chair on the right side of our front porch to give comfort to a naked corner.

We’ve just moved to Vermont, slowing gathering up the pieces of furniture we need to make a home.

A neighbor brought by a jar of zinnias, grown by their 4 year old, Anna, in her own garden bed.

I place them on the small table by the rocking chair, letting their beauty bring me peace.

I rock and wonder what it means to live a good life.

I rock and my partner Travis takes the kayak to the river— I say goodbye and continue rocking.

I rock and read a book on burnout, rocking and wondering how to maintain that peace.

The mountain air is slowing beckoning us out of summer and into fall, I can feel it. I let the wind dictate my rhythm as it slowly blows across the porch, across me.

There are differences between my story and Faith’s story.

She, a retired artist, and me, a young author.

Maybe the wind can speak to us both as we remember who we are.

Maybe the rocking movement transcends time and meets everyone who sits with a gentle embrace and call to go deeper.

Maybe a Massachusetts-made rocking chair bought on a Vermont mountain road can do all that.

Give a gift subscription

Friends, don’t forget, most of my writing will remain free, because I believe that sharing my words with all of you is what creates this community. For free subscribers, you’ll still get access to my essays and some original poetry. 

But if you’d like to subscribe for a paid account, you’ll get access to the following:

  • a look into my life as an essayist and poet

  • participate in discussion threads with me

  • glimpses into notes from my personal journals

If you’re interested, just click the “subscribe now” button below.

Onward, friends, together.