Message from the Executive Director
With every fall, I feel the changing of the seasons the most. Here at the Thunderhead Ranch, when it starts snowing, it’s winter. When it stops snowing, it’s spring – or summer, as was the case this year. But after the summer, there is a little window of time that is absolutely glorious. The sun rises a little bit later and sets a lot earlier. I see more critters moving about and making their preparations for what’s ahead. The leaves on the cottonwoods change and this year it has been a slow, vibrant transition to incredible colors of yellow and orange. I went for a walk up the East Fork River the other day and came across a bull moose and his mate who were lazily grazing along the banks, undoubtedly making their own plans for next spring. The temperatures swing about 30 degrees every day, starting and stopping in the 30s, but rising to the low 60s during the high part of the day. I start with fleece and progressively de-layer my clothing until about 4:00 in the afternoon, when the layers start to come back on. Last night, I had dinner in the Cookhouse with Gerald and Vivian and Kathy and Wayne. As I walked back to the East Fork cabin beneath the stars and in the still darkness, I heard the deer quietly move out of my path as they found their own safe places to settle for the evening.
I am a lucky girl. When not on the Thunderhead, I live on my family’s ranch in Southeast Wyoming or stay at my summer cabin in the Wind River mountains where I am always surrounded by this quiet beauty. But on the Thunderhead, we can all enjoy this peace because of the special gift that Gerry and Imaging gave to us -- Warriors around this country who need to know that these kinds of places still exist. And it is so wonderful for you all to know that you’re welcome to come here and reconnect with the land, with your colleagues, and indeed with yourselves so that you can return to your daily lives to fight another day.
I’ve been with the College for two years now and I have been blessed to get to know so many of you so well. I get to watch the new students literally blossom before my eyes during the 3-week program: to experience for the first time the peace that comes from sharing their pains and tragedies with virtual strangers and yet coming to trust that process and to know that they are safe in that sharing. I get to see pictures of new children -- and grandchildren -- during the Grad courses and hear about the “AHA!” moments that still resonate with alums who have been coming to this ranch for over 15 years. I get to work with Jude everyday who gives so much of himself to keep this College and this dream alive. I meet Warriors who plan some of their vacation time just to help clean the place up; or who come to help celebrate the graduations of new Warriors. On a few occasions, alumni have dropped by the ranch on their way somewhere, too busy to stay for the course but who just want to say “hi” and put their feet on the ground again, to know that this place is still here for them.
With all of the trials and tribulations, and all of the unknowns that happen today in our country’s courtrooms, it is vitally important to know that justice exists – that there is a home for it, and people who fight for it, and people who believe in it. The Thunderhead Ranch is, in fact, the ONLY place where trial lawyers can find a home in themselves, and, having found it, open that door to justice for America. This ranch, and this campus, is the home for all TLC Warriors no matter the season, and I am privileged to work for you all to ensure it will be here for decades to come.