The Understory

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Understory

Taking too long? Try again or cancel this request. As I write this, longhand, in seat 21E on a flight from Tucson to New York, my urge is to cover it as I would a poem, with the shell of my left hand, to shield it from the passenger in 21D. Meanwhile, 21F looks out the window onto the colorful rectilinear floor plan beneath us. Cracked, compacted black rubber at the lip of each. In Charlotte, he was, for a time, while we were all still together, a tractor trailer dispatch manager.

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The long-haulers reported in to him from routes all over the country. It was partly his job, as I recall or as I imagined then, to update their positions frequently, all day long. He preferred driving. I could oversee and play out the courses any number of lives were charting simultaneously, mine and his but two of them.

He had given me, Christmas after Christmas, several toy semi trucks; but any page of an atlas was more alive for me. A map is a depot of futurities, a staging ground, a theater of operations, James Corner says, its performative power comes from its being both analogous — indexical — and compositional. As you drive east to west across this continent, past the Mississippi, past the Missouri River, there is a certain point by which the interstate road kill has changed, where flattened gray squirrel corpses have given way to the spilled piggish innards of armadillos, bright red butcheries, each one.

The thinning begins perhaps in western Indiana, and by central Oklahoma, except in rare riparian areas, there is mostly open sky.

The Understory House - Houses for Rent in Tarapoto, San Martín, Peru

The terrain more closely resembles the map of it. Here one may project, as mapmakers long did, a prospect, from which the overview too is unimpeded. For eight of the last nine years I have lived in the West. It is a fact of life that we are exposed here, exposed by the sun, exposed to one another. There is no understory, because there is no leafy shade in southern Arizona. Everything that grows is groundcover, but coverage is spotty; the pervasive scatter of rubble is the degree zero look of planetary entropy.

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Nothing about the landscape is opaque or concealing. If the presence of something animal is undisclosed, it is due to its alert stillness, or its celerity out ahead of you, or its subterranean or nocturnal life. And without an atmosphere of cover, pretenses for rearguard behavior do not thrive, as in the South.

In the Sonoran desert, one knows well all four kinds of tree that grow without special irrigation: mesquite, ironwood, acacia, palo verde. The latter two are sometimes referred to as bushes. Where biodiversity is relatively limited, one knows what one is looking at, makes note of when and where, in which saguaro knothole the Gila woodpecker is nesting.

He becomes a student of how a gradual climb of fifty feet across a half mile brings at that altitude an entirely new subspecies of agave, or peculiar single-stitch knitted grasses, or signs of pack rats amid the thatch of dropped fingerlings under teddy bear cholla. Today John and I looked out on the circus of our backyard, where a young twitchy bunny was querying each fellow resident: the quail chicks in their family retinue, the standing ground squirrels sunning front feet up, the stone-pumping lizard, and the leggy roadrunner.

Beat it, bunny.


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Where I grew up, under the pine and hickory and maple of the central piedmont, I spent my private, creative life enacting a wish to rise up and out, to see the thing in full, attain a supervisory perspective. My familiarity down below with surface conditions, on the ground, was only ever great enough to keep myself safe, to stave off danger assiduously, to forgo and aver and beg off situationally, and I never found how to blend in or belong, not without covering who I was, which was exhausting.

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So, to keep part of myself outside and beyond the realm of my family and peers was a service to my authentic self, wherever he was. Consider the prospect poem, at its height in the eighteenth century; it was set here, at more or less standard Romantic counseling distance, Wordsworth high above Tintern Abbey sister Dorothy gets an earful of perspective , or Thomas Gray above Eton College. Shuttling from present vantage, after the heretofore.

This is the method, too, of C.

Contrasting structure and composition of the understory in species-rich tropical rain forests.

There is a point in the book where in the span of like ten words he tries on the Look Away of Dixie and the Dear Sister of Wordsworth, throwing shade and taking umbrage, both. There is a point precisely at the ridgeline of Water Works Hill, north end of Missoula, in the high cinquefoil grasses that dry out midsummer and give the Bitterroot its bright hue, where the grasshopper behavior changes. I mean, presumably, one subspecies gives way to another. When I made this discovery it was sonic, musical, before it was conscious; the metal water bottle I carry was all of a sudden pinging, like a Brian Eno composition, and I had walked twenty feet before I understood what was happening.

In any one dispatch he might modify with a new observation an earlier years-old assertion about the habits of martins around the barn in autumn, or correlate the darkness of alluvial mud to the health of tortoise hatchlings, or speculate on the nature of congenital mental illness, or detail how it seems a goldfish prepares to die. His trade is in neighborly empiricism. I have an old early hazy memory of sitting with Grandma on her back step, each of us with a fly swatter, concentrating on the busy industry of the inky black ants at our feet, on the little square of cement jutting into the grass.

Just watching, remarking their little fellowships, wanding over one another with antennae, then moving down the line. With interactive exhibits about flora and design, Understory provides an immersive, degree experience to visitors. Please be aware that the Understory exhibit is separate from the indoor gardens of The Spheres. Understory is a self-guided, museum-style exhibit and not a guided tour of the indoor gardens of The Spheres. For a tour of the indoor gardens, please sign up for an Amazon HQ Tour.

The Understory, part of The Spheres.

Episode1 - Amazon Go Part2 # Spheres Discovery at the Understory

Visit Understory. In the heart of our Seattle Headquarters is Understory. This exhibit was created just for visitors to showcase our approach towards an urban office. Learn about the nature-inspired design innovations that make this building possible and about Amazon in the neighborhood. Visit HQ.

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