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Oh, the Fecundity!

Wild-child wisdom packs first issue of West Marin pub 'Inverness Almanac'

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MEEP MEEP Editor Ben Livingston's own rendition of the Miwok image of coyote as creator-destroyer enlivens the 'Almanac.'
  • MEEP MEEP Editor Ben Livingston's own rendition of the Miwok image of coyote as creator-destroyer enlivens the 'Almanac.'

Recently, a quartet of editors was standing outside on a cool and breezy corner in Pt. Reyes Station, waiting for the deliveryman and his truck. There were 1,000 issues of the debut Inverness Almanac rolling around out there somewhere in the early West Marin evening—and an imminent launch party at which those issues were sorely required.

Yet the air was not so much filled with tension as with mirth as the youthful editors (Katie Eberle, Nina Pick, Ben Livingston and Jordan Atanat) chatted outside the Western Saloon—the Almanac office is upstairs—until, at last! Hoots and hollers and cheers for the deliveryman and the big, shrink-wrapped pallet of words. A fifth editor, Jeremy Harris, was standing by at the Dance Palace.

Peeled back as literary-poetic object, the Inverness Almanac is an exquisite refraction of its environmental and spiritual trappings, the greater glory of West Marin. The paper stock is heavy and textured, and its "natural" tone complements the earthy, rich content that characterizes the pub. That balance is especially true of the smattering of in-the-woods photographs. Turn the page, and the photos emerge as deep, calm portals into mysterious wilds—reproduced on soft, creamy paper stock. It's lovely.

The Almanac is rooted in poetry and the thoughtful walk through the woods; lines of prose spring across the page with empathic energy at the drop of a deeply held gaze. At one point, stopping by woods on a foggy coast, Pick describes a sort of shape-shifting encounter between a bay stallion and an elk: ". . . and it was you, in the woods, in your animal skin, that I saw, the barest of you / whom I had scarcely met and knew already to be kin."

The poems are joined by essays and drawings and recipes and tidbits of practical wisdom—and a great illustrated history of Tomales Bay forms a kind of visual and conceptual centerpiece. On almost every page there's a rendering: a branch or a bird or a dandelion or a snake, to enliven and entertain and inform.

The Almanac also offers a tide chart for the year along the bottom of every page. The chart is highlighted with seasonal phenomena, such as "Bat Rays mating" (April 5—be on the lookout!).

The image above is from Livingston, a rendition of the Miwok myth of the coyote as creator-destroyer. The illo evokes some of the more sobering content, where creation and destruction mingle. There's a difficult, rewarding meditation on a wounded deer and a man with a knife; a 1931 photo of a dead mountain lion being hauled through the wilderness is reprinted, and it's very sad.

It's impressive that nowhere in these pages are you invited to like the Almanac on Facebook. The only tweeting going on here involves birds. It's a throwback pub grounded in a youthful dance-meditation, a compendium of wild-child wisdom at the fringes of ferality and deep-forest decadence—and 1,000 copies worth of fulfilled intention plopped right there in the middle of the main drag in Pt. Reyes Station, just in time for the celebration.

This purchase information has been corrected, and is now correct, with apologies: Get yours for $18 at invernessalmanac.com.

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