Everything at Lava Beds is deceptively calm this week. The offices and the Visitor Center have been quiet and even the wildlife seems subdued: when Emma and I went to check on the Bald Eagles, all the birds were napping soundly in their nests. Maybe it’s the summer heat, which has finally started to ramp up into the 80s, which is lulling everything and everyone into a sleepy stupor. But this relaxed exterior is a lie; this week is the calm before the storm. Junior Ranger Day is approaching and with it brings early mornings, late nights, and hundreds of paper moths, beetles, mosquitos, and bats that need to be printed and cut out for the children to do arts and crafts with. Preparations have barely begun and yet the tension is palpable. What seems to be silence in the offices is actually the intense concentration of people creating schedules, finalizing activities, and endlessly counting. Counting how many staff will be on hand, how many children will come, how many tables we’ll need, how many inches of rain we could get, if we get rain, but, please, don’t let it rain. The Junior Rangers are coming, and we need to be prepared.

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