Happiness in Quotation: Butterflies

Last weekend we went to a butterfly house. Have you ever been? Usually there’s a winding maze amongst tropical trees and shrubs, with fruit and hummingbird feeders tucked here and there and lots of butterflies fluttering all around you. It’s really warm inside, and peaceful. It’s a different world. While there I saw a big yellow butterfly land on a boy’s shoulder. At first he wasn’t aware of it because he was looking the other way, but when he noticed he stopped everything and just took it in, totally focused, frozen in awe and delight. It made me think of this:

“Happiness is like a butterfly which, when pursued, is always beyond our grasp, but, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.” ~Nathaniel Hawthorne

I’m not sure I totally agree with the entire sentiment here, as I’m firmly in the Pursue and Create Your Own Happiness camp, but it made me think of how often happiness might be sitting beside us on the bus or climbing into bed next to us after a long day, and we don’t notice because we’re looking the other way. Hawthorne and I agree about this, though – never miss a chance to notice happiness alighting upon you.