I find it really interesting that my 18 month old daughter was able to identify her dad and herself in this photograph. Yesterday morning my husband reported that she was picking out cat faces in the drawings they were making together. So this morning, when it was my turn to get up with her at the crack of dawn, I tried it out. We filled a whole 18"x24" piece of paper with lines and shapes and scribbles and then as I started to put ears and whiskers on one of the round shapes, and she was thrilled. This prompted her to then look for more cat faces, some more developed already than others. She would draw furiously, watching intently for a cat face to emerge. She would suddenly pause, then bend down very close to the paper, with her index finger very close to her face, pointing at what she saw emerging from the layers of crayon marks.
I suppose this brings up finding imagery in clouds, in inkblots, or even reading maps. Finding order in chaos is a theme that is lurking here, and not really what interests me most right now. What I love about all of this is that body experience can be inseparable from sorting out what one sees.
It makes me think of a quotation at the beginning of a book I just started reading, Imaginative Horizons: An Essay in Literary-Philosophical Anthropology by Vincent Crapanzano (and as an ebook)
"Experience is never limited, and it is never complete; it is an immense sensibility, a kind of huge spider-web of the finest silken threads suspended in the chamber of consciousness, and catching every air-borne particle in its tissue." - Henry James, The Art of Fiction
"The mind wanders across what is in motion." Crapanzano, p.13 of Imaginative Horizons.
My daughter, a toddler, is nearly always in motion, and her sensory experiences are very much intertwined. She hears a helicopter in the sky and gets so excited and startled that her body jerks, almost violently, then she lunges for me to pick her up so she can get a better view, all the while saying "cop-cop! cop-cop!" and making the sign for helicopter, her heart beating rapidly. Naming the object came from her intense physical, aural, and visual experience.