Not laughter ha-ha but surprise ha-ha.
“Ha-ha” was the name given to the eighteenth century ditch which replaced the wall around aristocratic homes in Britain. It was what people were heard to say when they came upon this intentional cut in the land that made it possible for long views to be enjoyed across the countryside. The ditch was an important development towards the countryside being seen as a place to walk for pleasure rather than necessity.
Rebecca Solnit identifies a number of the transitions necessary for the Wordsworth siblings to take their enjoyable walks. From the internal long gallery of the great houses to the outside walkways created wide enough for two people to walk abreast, and from this Medieval garden to the Renaissance to the Baroque to the naturalistically landscaped with ha-ha ditches. These were movements of human imagination and illustrate Pixar’s Ed Catmull’s remark:
‘You’ll never stumble on the unexpected if you stick only to the familiar.’*
We can all imagine more.
We can imagine even more together.
(*From Ed Catmull’s Creativity, Inc..)