The founding fathers evidently thought the opportunity to pursue happiness was on a par with life and liberty and ranked all three equally in the Declaration of Independence. But how that plays out in real life is problematic, never more so than in our own times. Already in the 19th century, there were other views about the efficacy of the pursuit of happiness:
Happiness in this world, when it comes, comes incidentally. Make it the object of pursuit, and it leads us a wild-goose chase, and is never attained. Follow some other object, and very possibly we may find that we have caught happiness without dreaming of it.
Nathaniel Hawthorne, Letter, 1851
Check out oldest granddaughter Sam’s purse to see what she’s caught — or what’s caught her — at the aptly named Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory in Deerfield.
I stand with Hawthorne, and with his neighbor Henry David Thoreau, who reputedly said:
Happiness is like a butterfly: the more you chase it, the more it will elude you. But if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder.
Sam’s “Irish twin” younger sister Sarah has also caught — or been caught — but judging by her expression, Happiness is not necessarily a butterfly on the forehead!
(I have permission from both young women to post their photos so long as they don’t look hideous. Well hardly!)