>>Now it is a truism that when you draw something you really look at it with an intensity that cannot be matched by any other activity. You really look at it.
For me, one step further than that is to reach out and touch, really feel the stone. When I go and look at a place, the excitement of reaching a place seen many times in photos makes me immediately grab for the camera as if its going to dissapear any second. I only really feel I've been there and experienced it if I run my hands over a stone or two. I've left sites that I've creeped and crawled over and under to explore every angle but dont feel the same connection with what I've seen because I never stopped and touched it, then its like para-phrasing that book/TV series 'Meetings with Extraordinary Trees', I feel like I've met some extraordinary stones.
I dont think there's anything psychologically complex going on here, its not a stone-lust fetish either, just look at very young children. They look at things that are new to them and immediately are drawn to touch it or even put it in their mouths. I think its a component of 'experiencing' that is weaned out of us by over-mothering!