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Saturday, 28 June 2014

Fernando Pessoa: The falling of leaves that one senses without hearing them fall


Parque das Caldas da Rainha, Portugal. Landscape architecture by Francisco Caldeira Cabral (1908-1992): photo by Manuel Silveira Ramos, 2003 (Biblioteca de Arte / Art Library Fundaçao Calouste Gulbenkian)

The further we advance in life, the more we become convinced of two contradictory truths. The first is that, confronted by the reality of life, all the fictions of literature and art pale into insignificance… They are just dreams from which one awakens, not memories or nostalgic longings with which we might later live a second life.

The second is this: every noble soul wishes to live life to the full, to experience everything and every feeling, to know every corner of the earth and, given that this is impossible, life can only be lived to the full subjectively, only lived in its entirety once renounced.

These two truths are mutually irreducible…

Nothing satisfies me, nothing consoles me, everything -- whether or not it has ever existed -- satiates me. I neither want my soul nor wish to renounce it. I desire what I do not desire and renounce what I do not have. I can be neither nothing nor everything: I’m just the bridge between what I do not have and what I do not want.

Parque das Caldas da Rainha, Portugal. Landscape architecture by Francisco Caldeira Cabral (1908-1992): photo by Manuel Silveira Ramos, 2003 (Biblioteca de Arte / Art Library Fundaçao Calouste Gulbenkian)

To cease, to be unknown and external, the stirring of branches in remote avenues, the tenuous falling of leaves that one senses without hearing them fall, the subtle sea of distant fountains, and the whole indistinct world of gardens at night, lost in endless complexities, the natural labyrinths of the dark!

To cease, to end once and for all, yet to survive in another form, as the page of a book, a loose lock of hair, a swaying creeper outside a half-open window, insignificant footsteps on the fine gravel curve of a path, the last twist of smoke high above a village as it falls asleep, the idle whip of the waggoner stopped by the road in the morning... Absurdity, confusion, extinction -- anything but life...

Parque das Caldas da Rainha, Portugal. Landscape architecture by Francisco Caldeira Cabral (1908-1992): photo by Manuel Silveira Ramos, 2003 (Biblioteca de Arte / Art Library Fundaçao Calouste Gulbenkian)

Every day things happen in the world that can’t be explained by any law of things we know. Every day they’re mentioned and forgotten, and the same mystery that brought them takes them away, transforming their secret into oblivion.

Such is the law by which things that can’t be explained must be forgotten. The visible world goes on as usual in the broad daylight. Otherness watches us from the shadows.

Parque das Caldas da Rainha, Portugal. Landscape architecture by Francisco Caldeira Cabral (1908-1992): photo by Manuel Silveira Ramos, 2003 (Biblioteca de Arte / Art Library Fundaçao Calouste Gulbenkian)

Knowing clearly that who we are has nothing to do with us, that what we think or feel is always in translation, that perhaps what we want we never wanted -- to know this every moment, to feel this in every feeling, is not this what it means to be a stranger in one’s own soul, an exile from one’s own feelings?

Parque das Caldas da Rainha, Portugal. Landscape architecture by Francisco Caldeira Cabral (1908-1992): photo by Manuel Silveira Ramos, 2003 (Biblioteca de Arte / Art Library Fundaçao Calouste Gulbenkian)

The most painful feelings, the most piercing emotions are also the most absurd ones -- the longing for impossible things precisely because they are impossible, the nostalgia for what never was, the desire for what might have been, one's bitterness that one is not someone else, or one's dissatisfaction with the very existence of the world.

I don't know if these feelings are some slow madness brought on by hopelessness, if they are recollections of some other world in which we've lived -- confused, jumbled memories, like things glimpsed in dreams, absurd as we see them now but not in their origin if we but knew what that was. I don't know if we once were other beings, whose greater completeness we sense only incompletely today, being mere shadows of what they were, beings that have lost their solidity in our feeble two-dimensional imaginings of them amongst the shadows we inhabit.

The impossibility of imagining something they might correspond to, the impossibility of finding some substitute for what in visions they embrace, all this weighs on one like a judgement given one knows not where, by whom, or why.

Parque das Caldas da Rainha, Portugal. Landscape architecture by Francisco Caldeira Cabral (1908-1992): photo by Manuel Silveira Ramos, 2003 (Biblioteca de Arte / Art Library Fundaçao Calouste Gulbenkian)

Everywhere I have been in my life, in every situation, wherever I've lived and worked alongside people, I've always been considered by everyone to be an intruder or, at the least, a stranger. Amongst my relatives as amongst acquaintances, I've always been considered an outsider. Not that even once have I been treated like that consciously, but the spontaneous response of others to me ensured that I was.

Everyone everywhere has always treated me kindly. Very few people, I think, have had so few raise their voice against them, or been so little frowned at, so infrequently the object of someone else's arrogance or irritability. But the kindness with which I was treated was always devoid of affection.  For those who would naturally be closest to me, I was always a guest who, as such, was well treated but only with the attentiveness due to a stranger and the lack of affection which is the lot of the intruder.

I'm sure that all this, I mean other people's attitudes towards me, lies principally in some obscure intrinsic flaw in my own temperament. Perhaps I communicate a coldness that unwittingly obliges others to reflect back my own lack of feeling.

I get to know people quickly. It doesn't take long for people to grow to like me. But I never gain their affection. I've never experienced devotion. To be loved has always seemed to me an impossibility, as unlikely as a complete stranger suddenly addressing me as familiarly as 'tu' [Portuguese. Familiar second-person pronoun].

I don't know if this makes me suffer or if I simply accept it as my indifferent fate, and to which questions of suffering or acceptance do not enter.

I always wanted to please. It always hurt me that people should be indifferent towards me. As an orphan of Fortune I have, like all orphans, a need to be the object of someone's affection. I've always been starved of the realization of that need. I've grown so accustomed to this vain hunger that, at times, I'm not even sure I still feel the need to eat.

With or without it life still hurts me.

Others have someone who is devoted to them. I've never had anyone who even considered devoting themselves to me. That is for others: me, they just treat decently.

I recognize in myself the capacity to arouse respect but not affection. Unfortunately I've done nothing that in itself justifies that initial respect and so no one has ever managed fully to respect me either.

I sometimes think that I enjoy suffering. But the truth is I would prefer something else.

Fernando Pessoa (1888-1935): from The Book of Disquiet (O Livro do Desassossego), first published in Portuguese 1982, English translation by Margaret Jull Costa, 1991

Parque das Caldas da Rainha, Portugal. Landscape architecture by Francisco Caldeira Cabral (1908-1992): photo by Manuel Silveira Ramos. 2003 (Biblioteca de Arte / Art Library Fundaçao Calouste Gulbenkian)


19th century greetings card: artist unknown


sleepy fox: TC

Here are links to the later individual post entries (after 26 June 2014), in alphabetical order:

Abandonment (Bunting's Horace: Forget the weather)

A Dance of Light and Shadow
After the Whirlwind

A Grievous Deception (Fabricating War Out of Absolutely Nothing)
Air of Resignation

Alien Emergency
Almost Time Now
America: Structural: This is how it's going down

American Terror
An 'Act of War'
And then the Alien turned toward Zanna
An End to Empire
A New Life

Another stunning sunset: Ilan Pappe: Israel's righteous fury and its victims in Gaza
Anthropomorphism Under Attack
Aram Saroyan: Old People
A seemingly insatiable demand

A Transparency (The word made from broken pieces): "Nobody is asleep in Gaza"
A very strong energy drink
A Voice from Troy

Back into the Ruins: What is this? Just stunned

Barry Taylor: Foreshore Findings
Barry Taylor: Listen Closely
Being Boring

Beneath the Great World's Notice and Lost to History
Bertolt Brecht: Die Musen / The Muses

Bertolt Brecht: Parade of the Old New
Better Together?
Beyond Gaming

Black Dog
Black Wave (Pacific Melt)

Blank Space
Blending In (Lunar Impersonation)
Bolts (Lucretius: On the Nature of Things)

Borderlands: Between the Dream and the Reality
Broken Promises

Camilo José Vergara: When Everything Fails (Repurposing Salvation in America's Urban Ruins)
Carl Sandburg: I Am the Mob, the People (A Poetry Comic by Nora Sawyer)

College Pigskin Preview: The New Amazing Return of A Crazy American Girl
Commitment to a Losing Cause: Simonides of Ceos: For the Spartan Dead at Thermopylae (480 B.C.)

Craig Stephen Hicks, Angry White Men and Falling Down

Crusaders -- they're all Charlies
Daniel Abdal-Hayy Moore: Faced
Daniel Abdal-Hayy Moore: The Brother to the Dog

Democracy DOA (working conditions)
Dennis Cowals: Before the Pipeline (Near the End of the Dreamtime)

Dr Mads Gilbert on the Palestinian will to resist: "I compare occupation with occupation"
Dwindling Domain (Nazim Hikmet: from Living)

Edward Dorn: Bob Considine

Edward Dorn: If it should ever come
Edward Dorn: On first looking into Shakespeare's Folios just after Christmas 1998, at the New British Library
Edward Thomas: The Owl
Edwin Denby / Weegee: In Public, In Private (In the Tunnel of Love and Death)

Elephant Memories
Emily Dickinson: Tell all the Truth but tell it slant
End of the World Cinema: Daring To Be the Same / The Commanders 

Erasing the Forgotten: Has Gaza Eluded the Historical Memory of Poetry?
Ezra  Pound: from Canto I: Into the Underworld (A Poetry Comic by Nora Sawyer)

Fashion Week
Fear of Television

Fernando Pessoa: The falling of leaves that one senses without hearing them fall
Fireworks are like anything else in life, he said

Flann O'Brien: Is it about a bicycle?


Forugh Farrokhzad: The Wind Will Take Us / Street Art Iran: Nafir (Scream)
Frank O'Hara: On Dealing with the Canada Question
Friedrich Hölderlin: Narcyssen . . . / Jim Dine: Thistles in September
Gag Reflex: Federico García Lorca: Paisaje de la multitud que vomita (Anochecer en Coney Island)

George Herbert: I got me flowers

Gérard de Nerval: El Desdichado (Chimeras)
Grapefruit Moon with Murmurations
Hanging by a thread

Have Mercy ((Mr. Obama, do you have a heart? A letter from Dr. Mads Gilbert, a physician working in Gaza)
Hazard Response: What Went Wrong in Happy Valley?

H.D. (Hilda Doolittle): Euripides: The Chorus to Iphigeneia

Heavy Weather (All the Uncool Kids)
Heimat: A Tribute in Light: What's So Funny 'Bout Peace, Love and Understanding
"Hello my name is..."
Hijos de un dios mejor

Hilton Obenzinger: Treyf Pesach
How it went down for Thabo: NYPD chokeslam, broken leg, plain sight perpwalk show -- American dream glass half full?

I am the bullets, the oranges and the memory: Mahmoud Darwish: Ahmad Al-Zatar / Fadwa Tuqan: Hamza
Ideology #2: With Respect
Inside the No-Go Zone: Exploring the Hidden Secrets of the Brum Caliphate ("83 outfits on the 8:30 train from Selly Oak")
I Scare Myself: Marguerite Yourcenar: Exploring the Dark Brain of Piranesi's Prisons
Is not the night restless for them?

Is something broken in The Great Towns? Dougie Wallace: Shoreditch Wildlife
It Changes Everything (Perilous Sanctuary)

Its horn more precious than gold

Ivor Gurney: First Time In ["After the dread tales..."]
Ivor Gurney: Possessions
I will make mine arrows drunk with blood
Je Suis Virunga
Jim Dine: My Letter to the Troops
Jim Dine: 'When Creeley met Pep' (simply a doll to love)

John Donne: A nocturnall upon S.Lucies day, Being the shortest day; with certain Druidical factions
John Frank Keith: Oh, Yeah?
Just a perfect day for global epic reflection

killing us while we are sleeping
King of the Grifters

Leaving Debaltseve: "The whole town is destroyed"
Lights out in BEAU Y Town
Little Girl
Lorenzo Thomas: Inauguration
Lorenzo Thomas: MMDCCXIII 1/2   

lost souls
Love Songs
Luna de Sangre: Hasbara Moon ("And Then We Were Free")

Mahmoud Darwish: In Jerusalem
Mahmoud Darwish: Silence for Gaza
Mahmoud Darwish: Think of Others

Mahmoud Darwish: Under Siege
Mahmoud Darwish: Words

Marcia Roberts: Revealed and Not Revealed
Margaret Lucas Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle: Of Many Worlds in This World
Marianne Moore: The Pangolin

Marwan Ali: Train / Ahmed Ashraf: The Iron Way
Marwan Ali: Translation

Meditation: Cat Dancer
Michael Lally: Swing Theory: 2

Migratory: 'We are alone'
Minnie: Safely Home

Mohamedou Ould Slahi: Guantánamo Diary
Mon brillant hiver sur le magnifique lac Érié
Movie of the Year: Leviathan: In the Belly of the Beast

Munitions Madness: Procurement and Disposal
Mystery Goo: Mercy, Mercy Me

Nancy Morejon: Tobacco Worker
Naomi Shihab Nye: For Mohammed Zeid of Gaza, Age 15
New Moon (Not Dark Yet)
Nin Andrews / Vanessa Winship: Home Comforts

No More Tangles: The birth of a truly digital world in which nothing can ever again go wrong, mostly
no one knows
No one to rock the cradle (Nazim Hikmet: You must live with great seriousness, like a squirrel) 

No Place Like Ohm
O-o-h Child

Open Arms

Out of Africa: Gorilla Happiness, while there's still time
Pablo Neruda: I want to talk with the pigs
Pablo Neruda: Keeping Quiet

Palintology: Final Words
Pay-To-Play Killer Cop: The Death of Eric Harris, the Black Holocaust and 'Bad' History in Oklahoma

Peckerwood Diplomacy
Pedestrians -- A Problem in Traffic Engineering  
Philae Lander: Fade Out / Frantz Fanon: The End of the European Game 

Philandering Moon (We Are Not a Virus)
Phiip Larkin: Kid Stuff

Philip Larkin: The Beats: A Few Simple Words
Poetry and Extreme Weather Events: William McGonagall: The Tay Bridge Disaster 

Polar Bears: The Big Sleep ("Is the white bear worth seeing?")
Praxilla of Sicyon: What I leave behind

Price reductions
Private Moment: If you could read my mind

Projections of a Dream
Rainer Maria Rilke: Orpheus. Eurydike. Hermes -- she was already lost
Rainy Night in Oaktown

Rebuilding the House of Stones: A Meditation Outside the Fertile Grounds Cafe
Red State Scream Preview (A Period Haunting)

Relocation (the new ABCs)
Rites of Spring: Fire

Robert Creeley: A Wicker Basket
Robert Creeley: For Debora

Robert Herrick: To his saviour. The New yeers gift
Robert Walser: A Biedermeier Story 
Robert Walser: The Battle of Sempach
Robert Walser: The Job Application

Robert Walser: Yes, I confess that for some years past
Roberto Bolaño: Among the Horses
Robinson Jeffers: De Rerum Virtute
Robinson Jeffers: Night Without Sleep
Robinson Jeffers: Pelicans

Robinson Jeffers: Point Joe
Rohingya: Adrift

Rollin' In It: Celebrating the Tyranny of Freedom
Rumi: The Diver's Clothes Lying Empty (A Poetry Comic by Nora Sawyer)

Russell Edson: The Pilot
Samuel Beckett: My Family
Say What You Will

Seeing Multiples: Ghosts of Jönköping ("We are somewhere else")
Shadows on the Bridge

Shock (but there it is)
Simon Schuchat: Lion

Slipping the Chain
Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen: Eternalization (Se tanto me dói que as coisas passem)  
Sophocles: Oedipus the King: On the shore of the god of evening (The chorus prays for deliverance from the epidemic) 

Stretching It

Sy Hersh: My Lai Revisited: "We were carrying the war very hard to them"

The Avenger (Lorine Niedecker: "A monster owl...")
the daily screenshot The Forgotten
The General Comes Home: Miko Peled: "Gaza reminds us of Zionism's original sin"
The Human Abstract
The Jews of Asia

The meaning of world football
The most patriotic picture ever taken of me

The only moment we have is right now

The return of the exhausted monarchy
The Ritual Aspect

"These faint pastel bands..."
The Toll: Asmaa Al-Ghoul: Never ask me about peace again
This Is Hollywood

This is where the magic happens (Dark Money)
Thomas Campion: Now winter nights enlarge

Thomas Wyatt: Stond who so list vpon the Slipper toppe / Seneca: Chorus Two: from Thyestes
Thomas Wyatt: The longe love that in my thought doeth harbar / Petrarch: Amor che nel penser mio vive e regna

Thousand Year Empire
"Time rotates..."

Tom Clark: Evening Train
Unearthly Beauty

Viral (Philip Larkin: Myxomatosis)
War of the Climate Worlds: Warming Trend 1, Snowmageddon 0

War of the Worlds: Behemoth vs. Leviathan: Everything is everyone's fault
W.B. Yeats: The Second Coming (A  Sideshow)
Welcome home, villager: A window into the minds of the occupiers ("the most moral army in the world")
We'll Leave a Light On

Wet Leaves
When medics cry
Where Is the House of the Friend?

While we were away at the circus of representation: Ten minutes and then no home -- no memory, no history
"Who you out here for?"

Why Hillary   
William Carlos Williams / Dorothea Lange: The Descent
William Carlos Williams: The Thing

Wislawa Szymborska: Hatred (It almost makes you have to look away)
Wislawa Szymborska: Some like poetry

Wislawa Szymborska: Utopia
Yarmouk: 'I Am Not a Statistic'

You (V) (Hölderlin) 

Friday, 27 June 2014

A Dance of Light and Shadow


Jogo de Futebol entre as selecções de Portugal e Itália, Porto, Portugal: photo by Mario Novais (1899-1967), 1928 (Biblioteca de Arte / Art Library Fundaçao Calouste Gulbenkian)

The history of soccer is a sad voyage from beauty to duty.  When the sport became an industry, the beauty that blossoms from the joy of play got torn out by its very roots.  In this fin-de-siècle world, professional soccer condemns all that is useless, and useless means not profitable.  Nobody earns a thing from that crazy feeling that for a moment turns a man into a child playing with a balloon, like a cat with a ball of yarn; a ballet dancer who romps with a ball as light as a balloon or a ball of yarn, playing without even knowing he's playing, with no purpose or clock or referee.
Play has become spectacle, with few protagonists and many spectators, soccer for watching.  And that spectacle has become one of the most profitable businesses in the world, organized not for play but rather to impede it.  The technocracy of professional sport has managed to impose a soccer of lightning speed and brute strength, a soccer that negates joy, kills fantasy and outlaws daring.
Luckily, on the field you can still see, even if only once in a long while, some insolent rascal who sets aside the script and commits the blunder of dribbling past the entire opposing side, the referee and the crowd in the stands, all for the carnal delight of embracing the forbidden adventure of freedom.
Eduardo Galeano: from El fútbol a sol y sombra (Football in Sun and Shadow), 1995, English translation by Mark Fried, 1998

Jogo de Futebol entre as selecções de Portugal e Itália, Porto, Portugal: photo by Mário Novais, 1928 (Biblioteca de Arte / Art Library Fundaçao Calouste Gulbenkian)

Jogo de Futebol entre as selecções de Portugal e Itália, Porto, Portugal. Roquete (Guarda-redes), Jorge, A. Martins, J. Manuel, C. Alves, Pépe, Armando Marques, A. Silva, Martinho de Oliveira, Waldemar (3 golos), V. Silva (1 golo): photo by Mário Novais, 1928 (Biblioteca de Arte / Art Library Fundaçao Calouste Gulbenkian)

Jogo de Futebol, Lisboa, Portugal: photo by Mário Novais, c. 1920s (Biblioteca de Arte / Art Library Fundaçao Calouste Gulbenkian)

Jogo de Futebol, Lisboa, Portugal: photo by Mário Novais, c. 1920s (Biblioteca de Arte / Art Library Fundaçao Calouste Gulbenkian)

Jogo de Futebol, Lisboa, Portugal: photo by Mário Novais, c. 1920s (Biblioteca de Arte / Art Library Fundaçao Calouste Gulbenkian)

Jogo de Futebol, Lisboa, Portugal: photo by Mário Novais, c. 1920s (Biblioteca de Arte / Art Library Fundaçao Calouste Gulbenkian)

Jogo de Futebol, Lisboa, Portugal: photo by Mário Novais, c. 1920s (Biblioteca de Arte / Art Library Fundaçao Calouste Gulbenkian)

Jogo de Futebol, Lisboa, Portugal: photo by Mário Novais, c. 1920s (Biblioteca de Arte / Art Library Fundaçao Calouste Gulbenkian)

Jogo amador do Pirazu Futebol Clube (Sâo Paulo): photo by Luiz Gustavo Leme, 25 April 2004

Incident in a big football match near the line between British and French forces on the Western Front in France. A large group of French troops watching from the touchline. British in black and white jerseys: photographer unknown, c. 1918 (National Library of Scotland)

Goalkeeper between the sticks. French soldier defending his goal of two wooden poles connected by a length of rope during a football match in France. Standing behind the goal is a group of mainly French soldiers: photographer unknown, c. 1918 (National Library of Scotland)

A football match. 3rd Horse versus 18th Lancers [France]: photo by H. D. Girdwood, 25 July 1915 (Girdwood Collection/British Library)

A football match. [9th] Gurkhas versus a Signal Company [St Floris, France]: photo by H. D. Girdwood, 23 July 1915 (Girdwood Collection/British Library)

A football match. [9th] Gurkhas versus a Signal Company [St Floris, France]: photo by H. D. Girdwood, 23 July 1915 (Girdwood Collection/British Library)

A football match. [9th] Gurkhas versus a Signal Company [of the Dehra Dun Brigade, at St Floris, France]: photo by H. D. Girdwood, 23 July 1915 (Girdwood Collection/British Library)

Crianças Tukuna jogando futebol, Benjamin Constant, Amazonas (Ticuna, Alto Solimoes, Amazonia): fotografia realizada pelo Prof. Silvio Coelho dos Santos, mantendo a denominação original do documento, junho de 1962 (Museu Universitário Oswaldo Rodrigues Cabral/Acervo Silvio Coelho dos Santos)

Meninos jogando futebol en Salvador de Bahia: photo by jose angel, 1 September 2007

Futebol: photo by Victor Camilo, 8 March 2011

campo de futebol, Gonçalves, Minas Gerais: photo by Fernando Stankuns, March 2011

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Some Countries We'll Definitely Be Watching In the Next Round


Algeria 200/1
Algeria. Star Dunes in Algeria. The image was acquired by the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) on NASA’s Terra satellite on October 27, 2012. It was made from a combination of near-infrared and visible light. In this type of false-color image, sand is tan and shadows are black or gray. The blue-tinted areas are likely mineral-rich evaporites. The image is centered at 29.8°north latitude, 7.9°east longitude, near the town of Gadamis. As is common with star dunes, some of the dunes have long interlacing arms connecting to nearby dunes: image by NASA/GSFC/METI/ERSDAC/JAROS/ U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team (NASA)

Argentina 4/1
Argentina. Paraná River Floodplain, Northern Argentina. The Paraná River is South America’s second largest, and the river and its tributaries are important transportation routes for landlocked cities in Argentina, Paraguay, Bolivia, and Brazil. This astronaut photograph shows a 29-kilometer (18 mile) stretch of the Paraná, downstream of the small city of Goya, Argentina (just off the top left of the image): image by NASA Earth Observatory (NASA), 9 April 2011

Brazil 3/1
Brazil. Sao Simao Reservoir, Brazil is featured in this image photographed by an Expedition 16 crew member on the International Space Station (ISS). The Sao Simao reservoir, near the confluence of the Rio Paranaiba and Rio Verde in Brazil, is the featured subject in a milestone image of Earth. This colorful, patchwork image is the 300,000th image of Earth downlinked from the space station. There are now over 745,000 images of Earth taken by astronaut crews, beginning with the Mercury missions in 1961 and continuing to the present day on the ISS. The Sao Simao reservoir is located on the border between the states of Goias and Minas Gerais (near the geographic coordinates of 18.7S 50.4W). Though the town of Sao Simao was founded around 1935, major growth occurred when the hydroelectric power plant and dam were built - forming the reservoir -- in 1975. The reservoir is part of a major navigation link that allows transport of goods and commerce between central Brazil, the Prata River and the South Atlantic. With 600,000 square kilometers of surface area, the reservoir also serves as a tourist destination for fishing, swimming and boating. In addition to hydroelectric power production, the economy of the region is based in agribusiness. The image highlights agricultural fields of various kinds and in different stages of cultivation. The major commodities include corn, soybeans, sesame seeds, sugarcane, beans, manioc, coffee and meat production: image by NASA/ISS, 11 June 2014 (NASA)

Chile 28/1
Chile. Lluta River, Chile. A remote plateau in far northern Chile is not a place you want to be without water. Large sections of the Atacama Desert -- often called the driest place on Earth -- receive less than a millimeter of rain per year. The town of Arica -- which lies along the Pacific coast, about 15 miles (24 kilometers) west of the area shown here -- has the lowest average precipitation of any city in the world. Arica survives on just .03 inches (0.8 millimeters) of rain per year, about 75 times less than what California’s Death Valley receives.The barren nature of the landscape was on full display on July 19, 2012, when the Advanced Land Imager (ALI) on NASA’s Earth Observing-1 satellite acquired this image. Although a few types of cacti and other drought-tolerant species can survive in the Atacama, surfaces appear vegetation-free from ALI’s perspective, leaving a veneer of tan to dominate the image: image by NASA Earth Observatory (NASA)

Colombia 20/1
Colombia. Eruption of Nevado Del Ruiz. Nevado del Ruiz Volcano, infamous for its deadly lahars, sprang to life in March 2012. Located in the Colombian Andes, the volcano was frequently active during the past 1,000 years, most recently in 2010. Observers first reported earthquakes near the volcano, followed by emissions of volcanic gases and small amounts of ash. By early June sulfur dioxide emissions had increased, and ash reached as far as 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the volcano. This natural-color satellite image shows a burst of ash from Nevado del Ruiz on June 6, 2012. It was acquired by the Advanced Land Imager (ALI) aboard the Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite: image by NASA Earth Observatory (NASA)

Costa Rica 50/1
Costa Rica. Unrest at Turrialba Volcano, Costa Rica. Turrialba Volcano, located in central Costa Rica, emits a translucent plume of volcanic gases in this natural-color satellite image from January 21, 2010. According to the RED Sismológica Nacional (Costa Rican National Seismological Network), activity at the volcano increased markedly on January 4, 2010. Strong, long-lasting volcanic tremors were accompanied by gas plumes over the volcano, and emissions of ash began on January 5th. The “jet-type noise” of gas and ash rushing out of fumaroles was heard several kilometers away. On January 21, reported that potato and carrot farmers were asked to leave fields near the volcano’s summit due to further increases in gas emissions. The barren summit region of the 3,340-meter- (10,960-foot-) high Turrialba appears gray and brown, while the volcanic plume is a hazy blue. Fields and pastures are light green, in contrast to dark green forest that covers the high-elevation ridges. Since 2007, frequent acid rain showers caused by activity at the volcano killed or damaged much of the vegetation to the southwest of the summit, leaving the area brown and orange. This image was acquired by the Advanced Land Imager (ALI) aboard NASA’s Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite: image by NASA Earth Observatory (NASA)

Mexico 33/1
Mexico. Monterrey, Mexico. In northeastern Mexico’s Nuevo Leon state, the Sierra Madre Oriental (Eastern Sierra Madres) cluster in densely packed rows of arcing ridgelines. Just to the southwest of the city of Monterrey, these west-to-east running ridges make a sharp bend toward the south. The mountains then continue southward roughly parallel to the Gulf Coast for hundreds of miles.This image of the region around Monterrey was captured by the Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus sensor on NASA’s Landsat satellite on November 28, 1999. The dry terrain at lower elevations in the image appear in shades of tan and brown, while on the sharp ridges, vegetation appears dull to deep green. The urban development of Monterrey makes a gray patch at the foothills of the mountains. A river winds its way through the ridges as a tan ribbon: NASA image created by Jesse Allen, Earth Observatory, using data obtained from the University of Maryland’s Global Land Cover Facility (NASA)

Netherlands 8/1
Netherlands. Den Helder, Netherlands is featured in this image photographed by an Expedition 15 crewmember on the International Space Station. The city and harbor of Den Helder in the northern Netherlands has been the home port of the Dutch Royal Navy for over 175 years. Its favorable location provides access to the North Sea, and has made it an important commercial shipping port in addition to its strategic role. Bright red agricultural fields to the south of Den Helder indicate another noteworthy aspect of the region--commercial farming of tulips and hyacinth. This image is an oblique view--the camera is oriented at an angle relative to "straight down"--of the Den Helder region taken from the space station, which was located to the southeast, near Dulmen, Germany (approximately 225 kilometers away in terms of ground distance) when the image was acquired. In addition to the manmade structures of the Den Helder urban area (reddish gray to gray street grids) and dockyards to the east of the city, several striking geomorphic features are visible. The extensive gray mudflats, with their prominent branching pattern (top right), indicate that this image was acquired at low tide, and suggest thegeneral low elevation of the region. Parallel wave patterns along the mudflats and in the Marsdiep strait are formed as water interacts with the sea bottom between Den Helder and Texel Island during tidal flow. Some ship wakes are also visible. According to scientists, the bright white-gray triangular region at the southern tip of Texel Island (bottom center) is a dune field, consisting mainly of eolian (windborne) sands deposited during the last ice age. Subsequent sea level rise and shoreline processes have mobilized and re-deposited these sands into their current configuration -- including a new dune field island to the southwest of Texel (bottom center): image by NASA/ISS, 11 June 2014 (NASA)

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Nigeria. Once serving as part of the floor for a much larger Lake Chad, the area now known as the Bodele Depression, located at the southern edge of the Sahara Desert in north central Africa, is slowly being transformed into a desert landscape. In the mid-1960s, Lake Chad was about the size of Lake Erie. But persistent drought conditions coupled with increased demand for freshwater for irrigation have reduced Lake Chad to about 5 percent of its former size. As the waters receded, the silts and sediments resting on the lakebed were left to dry in the scorching African sun. The small grains of the silty sand are easily swept up by the strong wind gusts that occasionally blow over the region. Once heaved aloft, the Bodele dust can be carried for hundreds or even thousands of kilometers. The remnants of Lake Chad appear as the olive-green feature set amid the tan and light brown hues of the surrounding landscape where the countries of Chad, Niger, Nigeria, and Cameroon all share borders. The Bodele Depression was the source of some very impressive dust storms that swept over West Africa and the Cape Verde Islands in early February. These true-color images were acquired by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on February 7, and February 11, 2004. Numerous fires are shown as red dots in the February 7 images: image by Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC (NASA)

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Switzerland. Bernese Alps, Switzerland is featured in this image photographed by an Expedition 13 crew member onboard the International Space Station. The formidable mountain system of the Alps stretches across much of central Europe, with seven countries claiming portions of the mountains within their borders (Germany, France, Switzerland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Austria, and Slovenia). The glacial landscape of the Bernese Alps, located in southwestern Switzerland, is well illustrated by this view. The image was taken by a crewmember looking north-northwest while the station was located over the Mediterranean Sea between Corsica and Italy -- this oblique viewing angle imparts a sense of perspective to the image. This type of viewing angle complements more nadir (downward)--viewing imagery of the region. Three of the higher peaks of the central Alps are visible--Jungfrau (4,158 meters), Moench (4,089 meters), and Eiger (3,970 meters). To the east and south of the Jungfrau is the Aletsch Glacier, clearly marked by dark medial moraines extending along the glacier's length parallel to the valley axis. The moraines are formed from rock and soil debris collected along the sides of three mountain glaciers located near the Jungfrau and Moench peaks -- as these flowing ice masses merge to form the Aletsch Glacier, the debris accumulates in the middle of the glacier and is carried along the flow direction. According to geologists, Lake Brienz to the northwest was formed by the actions of both glacial ice and the flowing waters of the Aare and Lutschine rivers, and has a maximum depth of 261 meters. The lake has a particularly fragile ecosystem, as demonstrated by the almost total collapse of the whitefish population in 1999. Possible causes for the collapse, according to the scientists, include increased water turbidity associated with upstream hydropower plant operations, and reduction of phosphorus (a key nutrient for lake algae, a basic element of the local food web) due to water quality concerns: image by NASA/ISS. 11 June 2014 (NASA)


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. This image, captured by the MODIS on the Terra satellite shows the Rio de la Plata Estuary, on August 21, 2007. The Rio de la Plata estuary is formed by both the Uruguay River and the Parana River, and is on the southeastern coastline of South America. The estuary is actually between the countries of Uruguay (top) and Argentina (bottom), and opens up into the Atlantic Ocean. The capital cities of both countries are actually right on the estuary. Buenos Aires, Argentina is visible as a semi-circular gray patch on the southwestern end of it. Montivideo, Uruguay is a smaller grayish patch near the north side of the opening of the estuary. A great deal of sediment is carried into the estuary each year, where the muddy waters are stirred up by winds and the tides. The few red dots you see are the locations of active fires: image by NASA/GSFC/Jeff Schmaltz/MODIS Land Rapid Response Team (NASA)