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The NonProphet Podcast
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# 154 — Blair Speed


I met Blair Speed in the wake of great tragedy, two too-short months after her husband, Travis Swanson, was killed in a climbing accident. The words and images and emotion we exchanged in that wake led her to our space, our circle, to the safety of understanding and shared loss that seems to coalesce around the gatherings we sometimes host here. When I invited her to commune with us, she accepted, and replied, "Thank you for giving me something to look forward to when I didn't want to look forward." And how could she look forward, look ahead, to a life without her love, her guide, her protector, lover, teacher, love? How will any of us look ahead once we understand that who we love most deeply may be taken from us in an instant? Why do we count upon a future we only imagine — a future we have been sold as certainty — when we should be drinking the present, slaking our thirst for connection and love and understanding right now? Here and now. Blair does that, now. She is a writer, and a photographer, an antenna, her images communicate beauty, and empathy. Loss shapes her vision, gives her insight to the meaning and weight of the everyday, the hidden moments where our lives play out, where we make and feel connections, where we experience what we might not see until it is gone ... she photographs soul and spirit, she stops time, and preserves time, moments, seeing in subjects what they may not be able to see in themselves. Blair is physical, an athlete, an artist, and a survivor who has much to teach us about life, about living with such rage and love that we maybe, hopefully, never look back and ask, "What if?"