Pareidolia or apophenia … you decide

I have posted images of tomatoes, and I have posted images of sunflowers. Those of you who follow Pairodox will, perhaps, think it an oasis in a red and yellow sea. It isn’t. It just so happens that the field shown here is situated between the farm and my day job, in town. Watching the fields come in each fall, as they lay fallow in winter, as they are planted each spring, and then trying to guess what will emerge from the ground sometime later is our entertainment. Playing this game of observation and deduction can be difficult, especially when farmers experiment with new crops and new patterns of crop rotation. Several farms have contracted to grow tomatoes down along the floodplain while others grow green beans, soy beans, corn, and sunflowers. The sunflower has been the most recent addition and arrived on our agricultural scene not more than two or three years ago. Sunflower seeds may be harvested for human consumption or as bird seed, or as a source of high quality vegetable oil with the meal then used in livestock feed. Usually the sunflowers have been planted adjacent to corn and soy beans. I believe this is the first year that we have seen them grown next to tomatoes. I am glad for this new pattern because it has allowed for just the sort of pleasant juxtaposition you see below. Beyond the vibrant play of color it struck me, even as I walked the field to position myself to best advantage, that the sunflowers, with their heads turned down and heavily laden stalks leaning in, looked disapprovingly upon the tangle of vines at their feet! The black and white presentation of the second image allows me to focus on the crowd milling around in conversation to the right. I see parents with their child down in front. There are others behind, looking forward, and wondering what all the commotion is about. In both photos the sunflowers seem to have noticed that the tomatoes are encroaching and they, the sunflowers, are seriously displeased. Maybe I need a vacation. Does anyone else see this? Before signing off let me point out that Pareidolia occurs when a vague or random stimulus is perceived as significant, while apophenia occurs when we discern patterns in random information.



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