He watched the stars and imitated their courses and positions in the sand. Into the ocean of the air he gazed incessantly, its clouds, its illumination. He collected stones, flowers, beetles of every kind and arranged them in various patterns in front of him. To men and animals he gave attention, on the shores of the sea he sat and looked for shells. To his own heart and thoughts he listened intently. He did not know where his longing would lead him. When he had grown up he wandered about, viewed other countries, other seas, other atmospheres, stones that were strange to him, unknown plants, animals, men; descended to caves, saw how the earth was built up in shelves and many colored layers, and pressed clay into curious rock formations. Now he discovered familiar patterns everywhere, only weirdly mingled and combined, and in this way often the strangest objects fell into order in his mind. Soon he looked for analogies in all things, conjunctures, connections, till he could see no longer anything in isolation. All the perceptions of his senses crowded into great variegated images he heard, saw, touched, and thought at the same time. . . . Now stars were men to him, now men were stars, stones were animals, clouds were plants, he played with the powers and the phenomena, he knew just where and how to find this shape and the other, to make them appear; and thus he himself drew tones and passages from the strings.
--Novalis, The Disciples of Sais