June 19, 2013

Anna Mirabai Lytton: Her Parents Remember

(click for larger version)
Anna Mirabai Lytton was born at home in East Hampton on April 30, 1999 on the Buddha full moon, the same lunar calendar day as her brother two years earlier. Besides her parents, her early years were supported by wonderful caretakers, including Kelsang Wangmu, a young Tibetan woman newly arrived from Nepal, and three Scottish girls on successive summers, Alice Chapman, Rebecca Watt and Lynn Fraser, then New Zealand Maori, Tamara Asher. Sara Karl was also part of the family for several years after being recruited by Anna at a concert event in New York.

Anna attended the early childhood program at then Hampton Day School, where she met two of her lifelong best friends, Julia Friedrich and Josie Battle. At the age of five, when her aunt asked her how she saw her life, she replied, "I'm either asleep or on an adventure."

In 2004 when she was five the family lived for three months in India and Anna got to ride on elephants and to meet wonderful spiritual figures. She came back to Kindergarten at Springs School where she continued with an extraordinary cadre of teachers through eighth grade, and would have graduated this year. Anna was excited to attend Ross School for high school where her brother is already a student.

She played on the soccer and lacrosse teams at Springs. At eight she was on a TV program with Amy Polar demonstrating yoga poses she had learned from her yoga teacher mom, Kate Rabinowitz.

Her adventures continued on travels with her family, especially with her grandparents, Alan and Andrea Rabinowitz to England and Scotland, New Mexico, on a dinosaur dig to Colorado, following the Lewis and Clark trail to Washington State, camping in Glacier Park, trips to the islands in the Northwest and Canada, and a Eurail trip to Italy in 2010 that included Venice and Assisi. In summers Anna there were trips to Martha's Vineyard and three summers at Farm and Wilderness camp in Vermont. She was looking forward to another camp summer.

Anna was an avid reader and had begun to explore classic literature on her own. She was a prolific writer and poet, and loved to take photographs and listen to music. She loved to cook with her mother and brother, and she and her mom were planning to make healthy snacks for the local farmers market. She had a great interest in health and well-being, loved flowers and gardening with her dad, and picking at Quail Hill Farm.

At the end of a camp canoe trip she wrote a poem that closed with:

A sweet silence settles

On our group as we row.

Dawn turns to dusk and soon

The sky is darkening

And the once calm water

Churns in the wind.

The campsite is near but rocks jut out at us

Preventing our docking.

It gets shallower and we try to walk

But the water pulls at our clothes and boats

It urges us to let go.

We reach the shore

The dry land welcomes us.

I have soaked up the water like a sponge

And now it is draining out

Along with my remaining strength.

We have reached our resting place

And completed our work.

Anna Lytton is survived by her parents, Kate Rabinowitz and Rameshwar Das, and her brother, James Lytton. To honor Anna's passion for the arts, the family is establishing the Anna M. Lytton Foundation for Arts and Wellness, to be dedicated to enriching arts and wellness for the young, including at Springs School. Contributions may be addressed to the Anna M. Lytton Foundation at P.O. Box 625, Amagansett, NY 11930.

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