Wednesday, June 9, 2010


One of the funniest landscape terms i know is ha-ha. I first saw a ha-ha in British gardens, particularly at country manor houses.

The backyard is level and grassy, and the eye moves farther away to little white sheep in a pasture. But the sheep never come into the back yard. Why?

Because the back yard goes out and drops off suddenly. From the sheep's point of view they are hemmed in by a 4 or 5 foot tall stone wall.

The stone wall is invisible to the person standing in the house or the backyard looking out upon this pastoral scene. Unless she is a careful observer, she won't notice the ever-so-slight difference in the green of the yard the green of the pasture. The view from the manor house is vast green.

The Green River Bridge B&B in Guilford, Vermont ( has just such a ha-ha in her backyard. The lower yard doesn't have sheep, but it does make you want to walk down to the lower yard and play a game of croquet.

A ha-ha tricks our eyes into seeing a single expanse of green.

Delusion tricks us into seeing our mind-bodies as a self.

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