12 Minutes in Heaven, or an Unexpected Simple Pleasure

April 08, 2022

New property--Tank is on the left

The barn where I board recently moved to a larger property a few miles away from the original location. It’s a couple of minutes farther from my house, but the main road leading there is a straight highway with light enough traffic that I can use cruise control most days. 

This is my version of a commute.

An unexpected simple pleasure

I’ve spent 18 years driving back and forth to barns, and to my surprise, these drives have become simple pleasures in and of themselves. I generally don’t enjoy driving, but this road is so well known to me that it’s not stressful to drive it. There’s not a lot of traffic, I won’t get lost, or have no place to park when I arrive at my destination. I’m going somewhere I love.

I listen to music or an audio book, and watch the sky, admiring the clouds (or wondering if it’ll rain), and looking for rainbows.

My mind sometimes gets busy when I slide behind the steering wheel, but it becomes especially active when I drive to the barn. It’s like all the thoughts I’ve been holding at bay while otherwise occupied flood my mind when my guard is down. This can be both good and bad.

I often think over problems I’d like to solve, or ponder a tricky passage of writing. Sometimes it’s more like asking my subconscious mind to get to work while I’m at the barn and completely absorbed—“Here’s the problem, get back to me with the answer!” Sometimes the break produces solutions, sometimes not.

Somehow, driving amplifies my emotions. During hard times I’ve pulled to the side of the road to cry. During happier ones, I’ve joyfully belted out show tunes and other favorites, singing along to the radio or to some of my collected music. I often feel gratitude while driving—for the privilege of having my horse, and lately for having a reliable vehicle and money for gas.

“What’s Next Syndrome”
In the rest of my life, I’m often in a hurry, and want to Be There Already. I suffer from “What’s Next Syndrome,” always impatient to go on to what’s next instead of embracing now. In the car, I’m in my own private world—no one can ask me questions or make demands. There’s nothing for me to do except what I’m already doing: driving. (See my essay “Driving I-5 in the USA” for similar reflections.) That 12-minute drive to and from the barn allows me to transition from work to play and back again, and I’m letting myself enjoy it!

What’s an unexpected thing in your life that makes you happy? 

You Might Also Like


  1. Just stepping out into my backyard this week has been a simple pleasure. I love the coolness of the morning air and the sound of running water in our backyard pond. Just a little bit of heaven in my own backyard. I just have to remember to go out and enjoy it more often. ;-)

    1. Claire--That's the trick, right? Remembering to enjoy our simple pleasures.

  2. Ah Kathy I am so glad you shared this joy of driving to the barn. Tank looks very content in his new place. My morning walks often bring me unexpected joy...I will see deer grazing or at certain seasons glimpse a migrating bird. With spring arriving just the grass greening up makes me smile. Thanks for sharing friend. Hope you have a super weekend. Hugs!

    1. Debbie--I love morning walks! I hope you're enjoying all the signs of spring.