EDITOR’S NOTE: Eastern Afghanistan was hit with an earthquake and flash flooding this week, which killed as many as 33 people and demolished thousands of homes. The epicenter of the quake was 17 miles from Jalalabad, according to a report by the BBC.
Before the quake hit, GlobalPost reporter Ben Brody was further south in Qalat, Zabul province, observing the details of the ground beneath his feet.
QALAT, Afghanistan — Tired, squinting and sweating in the arid, violent southeastern Afghan landscape it's easy to miss the little things. Little things like tiny chips of jade and lizards hiding in the tumbleweeds. Like little fern-like plants that smell of sage when crushed under a boot, or caterpillars attacking the plants and ants attacking the caterpillars. Or lizards attacking the ants and the caterpillars.
Afghanistan is famously rich in minerals, and many of them are easily visible. I recently spent three days at a makeshift gunnery range in Zabul Province, and the slow pace of the days' activities gave me plenty of time to stare at the ground. The longer I looked and the stiller I sat, the more I saw.