I remember one day at Sandbanks Provincial park when my oldest son was about 4 years old. He followed a monarch butterfly on the beach with complete delight. He sat so still to watch the butterfly, it landed on him for just a moment - a moment that remains in my mind more than 15 years later.
You might expect me to say that happiness is like that butterfly - something we pursue just so that we can wonder at the grace of its movements and the brushing of its wings against our skin. I almost expect it myself.
Instead, I am going to say that I was happy in that moment of watching my son watching the butterfly, all of us joined in a delicately synchronized chain of focus. My son was free to watch the butterfly because I was watching him. I saw the butterfly because I had, for the moment, the eyes of a delighted, delightful child. Perhaps even the butterfly was pleased in some butterfly way by being the focus for the such engaged attention.
Happiness is hard to hold - except in memory, where it lives with the clarity of blonde curls on the beach, as bright as the afternoon sun on the water.