Thinking about yesterday’s hike makes the butterflies in my stomach flutter. Everyone has experienced that intangible feeling in the pit of your stomach and it is easy to describe the exact event that caused the butterflies to flap their wings and tie your stomach into a knot, but to try to describe that feeling leaves me at a loss for words. In order for one to understand the sensation, it must be experienced.

From an objective definition, the “butterflies” are the result of the release of adrenaline in the fight-or-flight response, which causes increased heart rate and blood pressure, consequently sending more blood to the muscles. When the brain senses a threat to survival it raises alertness which includes the release of adrenaline.

That definition makes complete sense when I think back to yesterday’s adventure. Hiking up a precipitous trail in the rain with a backpack half your size in a foreign country should make one perceive a sense of danger. But just because a situation is riskier than a walk in the park, doesn’t mean that challenges shouldn’t be taken on. I believe in quite the opposite, that you should do one thing a day that scares you. Your body is smart, and realizes that alertness is critical, thus the release of adrenaline and extra blood in muscles when performing a task that pushes your comfort zone. And for that we can say “THANK YOU EVOLUTION!” Thank you for making me hyper-aware, for making my brain feel like it is running on a treadmill turned all the way up, for propelling my legs up the endless steps, for making time seem like a foreign concept, for making me incognizant of any hunger and for not letting fear hinder me.

When I close my eyes and picture the hike a few images stand out in my mind, images that show off Mother Nature’s incredible beauty; beauty so vibrant that my camera cannot even come close to recreating. Those images are also connected with the feelings of fear, liveliness, self-assurance, and motion- of the legs, mind, heart and blood. As a result of the association of emotions with images and memories, I feel those same butterflies when I reminisce about the adventures of May 29, 2016.

It is unclear to me why I felt motivated to hike this mountain in the midst of a scattered rainstorm, why some people innately crave adrenaline more than others, and why it is nearly impossible to describe the adrenaline sensation. But, this goes hand in hand with a concept I have recently been introduced to: the misconception between art and science. The main points of this idea is as listed:

1. Science is curiosity

2. Curiosity is as natural as the desire to create

3. Art can awaken curiosity

4. Art can share stories in new languages at an emotional, human level

This idea explains a connection between art and science that resonates with my personal work, for I have a deep sense of curiosity and find art as a creative medium to explore my interests.

Just as a scientist would run labs and orderly tests to draw conclusions, an artist may research an interest and figure out how to describe that visually, whether that be abstractly or realistically. This gives the artist the power to open people's’ minds and see in a new light.

Julia Mattis