Happy Year of the Horse!

yearofthehorseJanuary 27th marked the start of the Year of the Horse in the Chinese calendar, and the Blue Ridge Center for Chinese Medicine in Pilot, Virginia is honoring the gifts of the horse this year by forging a deeper connection to the land and helping us reclaim our natural strength and vitality.

Tucked into the forest near the Floyd/Montgomery county line, the Blue Ridge Center for Chinese Medicine, or BRCCM, is a non-profit center that offers comprehensive and complementary health care to the surrounding community. The main building is awash with natural lighting and gentle, calming energy. Four clinical care rooms with hardwood floors and high ceilings look out onto pastures and woods behind the center.

As horses peacefully nibble the grass, their hooves link their hearts to the land. This year BRCCM is deepening that vital connection by expanding their Chinese medicinal herb production program. Developing economic opportunities for regional farmers is the goal of the program as well as supplying reliably sourced high-quality herbs for Chinese medicines for regional and national distribution. On March 15th and 16th, just in time for spring planting, leading Chinese medicine herbalist and grower Jean Giblette will host workshops for local farmers and others interested in learning about the medical benefits and growing needs of these herbs.

Horses run hard, but they know when to rest. If only we could follow their lead! In our manic world, we often overextend our capacity and lose our sense of place on earth, draining our strength and vitality. BRCCM helps replenish our natural balance by offering classes in grounding andstrengthening mind/body practices such as internal martial arts for health including taiji, qigong, plus yoga and playshops.

People of all ages travel from near and far to explore alternative approaches to issues such as chronic conditions, addiction, injuries, and aging. BRCCM’s highly trained practitioners work with each individual to support an effective personal path to healing, offering a wide range of therapeutic options such as acupuncture, herbs, and bodywork including Tuina and Thai massage. This year the center is also offering classes and practitioner continuing education courses in fermenting foods, holistic animal companion care, Chinese food therapy, and pre- and post-natal wellness.

Just as horses band together, so the staff and supporters of The Blue Ridge Center for Chinese Medicine work as one to strengthen their community. The non-profit center relies on financial donations to sustain its services, as well as volunteers who help with tasks ranging from stacking firewood to repairing computers. The center offers low-cost acupuncture clinics and donation-funded subsidized care so that quality health care is available for everyone. In this Year of the Horse, let’s remember that each step toward individual wholeness helps create a more resilient, more supportive community for all.

For more information about holistic health services, classes and workshops, the medicinal herb growing program, and other upcoming opportunities, check out the BRCCM website (www.brccm.org) or Facebook page (Blue Ridge Center for Chinese Medicine).


Pin Up Day in Floyd Virginia

pinupdayinfloydBeing a native Virginian and having been born and raised in the ever growing city of Lynchburg, it’s easy to get “used” to the sites and overlook the beauty that is around me in this state’s vast terrain. As all people sometimes do, even I become involved in life, following a typical hurry up and wait routine. Seventeen months ago, my family and I moved from Richmond to the small city of Blue Ridge, VA nestled by the Blue Ridge Parkway, just outside of Roanoke. Since moving to the Roanoke area, I’ve seen many vast differences in culture and scenery.

As a child, I began capturing the scenery of Virginia with a simple point and shoot camera. I always looked for new places to take pictures. I quickly discovered that adding a person suddenly brought the scenery to life. The beauty along and around the Blue Ridge Parkway offers a way of life filled with hiking, biking and overlooks that span miles, the breathtaking views speak for itself. With my love for capturing beauty and people, I have continually grown and a passion for new forms of expressing my art, always come to life. With new forms of expressing my art, I’m always striving, always exploring new ways of capturing people.

One of my newest passions is Pin Up photography. Pin Up has been rapidly trending in the arts world and is another way to bring life and beauty from the 1940’s and 1950’s into modern times. When thinking of Pin Up , big beautiful cars from the era quickly come to mind.

Networking and referrals are a mainstream way to establish business and make connections and through networking I met a fabulous makeup artist, Melinda Lawson Cumbee. Soon I was offered an introduction to a local of Floyd County, Johnny Dalton of Dalton’s Auto Restoration. His love for restoring those massive metal cars of yesterday inspired a collaboration. We set up a day to shoot pin up and so my adventure to Floyd County began.

As I drove on interstate 81, around the hustle of bustle of Christiansburg and Blacksburg, I listened closely to my GPS, as not to miss a turn. The noises of the city were quickly diminishing as I was suddenly hit with a sense of awe. As I looked around, I felt as if I had taken a step back in time, to a time free of the confines of city life. The rustic feel of the farm lands and the mountains were hair raising. Every turn brought a new view. Every view as interesting and impressive as the next.

Upon arriving in downtown Floyd, Main Street had a rustic charm and felt Mayberry friendly. The friendly personalities and southern charm of the locals only enhance the small town feel in Floyd. Speak with a local in Floyd, and it’s easy to see the love and passion for its community.

Pin Up day was perfect, and what a collaboration. Pretty girls often bring attention, but add beautiful cars and it’s a hit. The cars, the people, and the models, made a perfect day even better. When moving locations, the scenery and roads became more winding and nestled. Soon we passed one of Floyd’s gems, Mabry Mill.

Tucked neatly in the Blue Ridge Pkwy, Mabry Mill, which was built in 1910, is known for its beauty, as well as a look back to pioneer life. Mabry Mill is so beautiful, that it’s not surprisingly, one of the most photographed spots along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Of course, in the back of my mind, I was considering whom I could capture in front of it with my camera.

The country restaurant adjacent to the Mill offers some tasty country cooking, that is well worth the wait! The country steak was delicious, but please don’t tell my mom. The walks around the Mill and the restaurant bring a sense of calm and peace. It’s well worth the visit. The next shooting location was a hit, and many locals came to watch the shoot. It was thrilling to say the least! As the day came to a close, my trip back to Roanoke was filled with thoughts of coming back to Floyd and capturing some of the old buildings, or beautiful landscapes that were endless.

Shooting Pin Up adventures with the beautifully restored cars by Johnny Dalton hasn’t ended. Our most recent project was a classic 2014 Pin Up Calendar for Dalton’s Auto Restoration, featuring beautiful girls and cars from the 1940’s to the 1970’s. Floyd has become a staple in my work and I hope to continue the travels and enjoy more of its vast beauty for recreation, and perhaps I will just leave my camera behind. Or not.

Kimberley Izatt Photography
Phone 804-218-4221