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.

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“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.

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