Editor’s Letter July/August 2020


In college I took a Voice and Diction class for my journalism major. I clearly recall our professor teaching us how to take “cleansing breaths” to prepare ourselves for public speaking engagements. I hadn’t gotten into yoga yet so the concept of deep breathing was new to me.

Inhaling deeply through my nose, taking all of the air into my stomach, and then slowly exhaling through my mouth…the whole process was a little awkward at first, but man, after that first breath, I was hooked. I could feel a little bit of stress just melt away.

I’m not sure about you, but I’ve been taking a lot of “cleansing breaths” lately.

Thankfully, since taking this job four years ago, the Summer Issue has always been a bit of a breather for me. Partly because of the season—warm days and sunshine make deadlines feel less oppressive. But also because this is the one issue of the year that’s less formulaic—a delightful hodgepodge of all that is light and bright (and possibly outdoorsy, but not always) in the Hill City.

You’ll find what I believe to be little breaths of fresh air throughout this publication, including a local scooter club that’s featured on our cover. This unique group has a passion for Vespas or Lambrettas and you may catch them “zooming around town” in their often colorful mod-inspired outfits.

There is plenty of encouragement to head outside: grow peaches, play disc golf, or even trek across the state to encounter one of Virginia’s mysterious pony herds. We also have inspiring stories that will make you smile—from our 2020 Healthcare Heroes, which include one of the frontline nurses in the local fight against COVID-19, to a new downtown mural that’s spreading the word about “Black Girl Magic.”

But before you dive in, consider taking a moment to reset: inhale, hold, and slowly exhale.

I hope this magazine is a breather for you.

All My Best,

Shelley Basinger, Managing Editor


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