beneath the ha-ha

Let’s face it.  Most people do not relish the prospect of being blindsided. 

I am one of those people.  But I’m ready to make an exception for the ha-ha.

I stumbled upon this 18th century landscape gardener’s creation while reading a few days ago and I’ve been dreaming of sweeping views that include a ha-ha ever since.

The ha-ha is just so romantic.  So thoughtfully planned and constructed. 

In a totally take-you-by-surprise kind of way. 

For those that are unfamiliar, the ha-ha  is a sunken fence — a type of boundary to a garden or a pleasure-ground designed not to interrupt the view and to be invisible until closely approached.

It is surmised that the name is derived from the response of ordinary folk encountering them while hiking about the English countryside. 

They were “…then deemed so astonishing, that the common people called them Ha! Ha’s! to express their surprise at finding a sudden and unperceived check to their walk.”

The ha-ha’s mission also strikes me as very sexy, the element of surprise notwithstanding:  

The contiguous ground of the park without the sunk fence was to be harmonized with the lawn within; and the garden in its turn was to be set free from its prim regularity, that it might assort with the wilder country without.”

Freedom from prim regularity —

Assorting with the wilder country without —

Oh yeah.

What’s spring without a little ha-ha?


Author: Julie Ann Stevens

My art flows from the patterns & paths of my lived experience which ⏤ like yours ⏤ are at once deeply personal and entirely universal.

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