Thursday, October 25, 2007

Apophenia and Pareidolia

I've learned two new words today and they apply to this image, a view from my bed looking south out the glass door to the deck. This evergreen stands on the neighbor's property and used to be heavily pruned by the former owner. For the last several years it has grown tall and gangly but lovely nonetheless, covering the view of their rooftop. I spend a fair amount of time looking at this tree and several weeks ago I saw a face in the branching, tender limbs. The face is always there; sometimes alive with the movement of the wind but often mask like and frozen.

Apophenia is the identification of patterns in seemingly unrelated data. A subtype of apophenia is pareidolia, the finding of specific images within random stimuli. I am pleased but not surprised to learn that there are words to describe what I am experiencing.

This face is familiar; it is a face in repose, perhaps sleeping. Whose face? I have discovered that the face is one of three women, morphing one into the next. I see myself, my daughter, and my mother in these random branches. There are features of all three of us in this image depending on the thoughts in my head. As I write this piece, I am in bed looking out on the early morning light and the face of this three-in-one woman. Her expression is timeless; she in not really sleeping at all. She has thoughts that expand to touch the edges of the universe.

Ok, call me nuts; that's fine. I wonder if anyone else can see this face or is this experience mine alone?

1 comment:

  1. I can't see the face, but it isn't suprising that you see yourself, Laura and Bama. There's so much going on with all three generations, and maybe the tree is showing you a "face" so you can think about it all.


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