The Smith River is the last wild, never-dammed river in California. It flows near California’s extreme northern border from the Klamath Mountains to the Pacific Ocean. The Smith is not only my inspiration for the Fearless series, but it’s my inspiration for creating and curating the Shimmer Exhibition with Robby Abrams.
Every summer, these emerald waters welcome my family on our annual camping trip. I immerse my body and feast my eyes immediately upon arrival. It’s a homecoming. I never cease to be awed at the Smith’s edge. Her clarity is startling and her independence is fierce.
She nurtures multitudes-otters, dippers, woodpeckers, various raptors, rattlers, butterflies, trout, salmon, frogs, salamanders, wild lilies, Yurok and Tolowa communities and a few locals who have the privilege of enjoying her year-round.
I possess a deep appreciation of, and need to preserve, this sacred waterway. On my journey to The Smith last summer, the extended fire seasons and epochal drought were strikingly evident. The Russian, Eel, and Klamath Rivers were extremely low and dry in segments. Charred hillsides made us wince. The Smith, to our relief, flowed freely, but lower and subdued. She implored, “Do not despair. Act!”