If I could get a refund on all the time I have wasted in trying to "get a life", I would keep it in a pot labelled "never exceed the correct dose ". Having time enough to realise that we have it all the time, even when the nurses approach with my medicine, is a much better way to be. Time does not need fetching.

Walking the mile to our village at the standard four miles per hour, on a rest day, would be thoroughly enjoyable for the variety of natural features along the way. If I were to walk the same stretch at four hours per mile, the experience would be markedly different. Same stretch of road, more life, more colour, more depth.

I could pause, a minute or two after setting out, to admire the new coppice growth cut by Jim two years ago. I would try to fix it in my mind so well that I would recognise the difference at leaf fall. In the hedgerows of the meandering single lane road I would look out for those yellow and brown banded snails. I don't know their proper name or their life history, but it would be interesting to know what they are up to. When the snail dies, the shell bleaches, so maybe the colours were living as well. That is not a conception of mechanical science, maybe it is just fanciful , but possibly, if I take time and let it run.......   

Just past the farm, where the dogs are clamorous and the farmer is quiet, there is a little stream by the roadside. I have no idea what lives there, so time spent gazing into its lucid flow would be well rewarded. Isn't Nessie a fresh water beast....?

Postman Pat lives in the last homely house before the village. He is a retired Post Office manager, and he would readily invite me in for a cuppa and a chat.

The bridge over the principal river of the county is a great place to see a kingfisher or an otter, but such a sighting would need the patience to stay still enough to pass as part of the landscape.

Mark Twain learned to read every minute and shifting detail of his own river, the Mississippi, for a length of 1200 miles in all weathers and on the darkest oil lamp lit night. Twain was completely perplexed by the ability of the pilot to navigate in the darkest night. It could only be done because the unreeling form of the river was so well known to his master that he could replay it in his head from the most scanty of clues. I have trouble enough imagining my way to my socks in the dark.

Just as Twain thought he was getting somewhere in his knowing, a whole new dimension was revealed, that he had not only to assimilate, but to play in the context of all the other background wobbles of the river entity, from present moment to present moment..... 

This has to be an intuitive, in the flow way of understanding, which complements and guides the analytical faculties by using imagination to give a complete picture. No need to "get" it, it's just there.  It was very much the way Einstein and other scientists worked:-

There is no logical way to the discovery of these elemental laws. There is only the way of intuition, which is helped by a feeling for the order lying behind appearance.  

Albert Einstein (letters).

In describing his interpretation of one river feature, the pilot said he just knew, without knowing how he knew.

Hopefully I can know  this modest river, to the extent that I can see it, from this old stone bridge, whilst I wait for a sighting, or a bus, whichever comes sooner.

It isn't knowledge, applied through logic only that is important, in the end, so much as just somehow knowing; but normal education provides the means to that end.  There were no books on piloting the Mississippi, no idiot's guide; you just had to be there, not idly twiddling your thumbs, not busied or harassed, just fully occupied.

I will do all of my own observations in necessarily little bits, when they let me out, or I escape, but my only regular stretch is on a different scale. I have done it for 18 years, but yesterday I realised that I could not, for example, describe the leaves on that pink flowering shrub just yards from my door. Disgraceful...