We walked a transect through riverine forest, surveying elephant dung, and part of the transect included a dry river bed. It was at the end of the dry season, and we were surrounded by leafless trees and shrubs growing in bare soil, cracked and baked by the sun. Here and there were small green shoots, a result of the showers that heralded the beginning of the rains.
The elephant's footprints led across the riverbed. I tried to picture what the area would have looked like during the rains, when the rock-hard soil would have been mud underneath a shallow layer of water. Was the riverbed full of water when the elephant walked across, or had the rains finished and it was just an area of soft mud? Either way, each footprint would probably have become a small pool, but now they were filled with the dead leaves from last year's growth.
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