Anna Mirabai Lytton was an ardent reader who had just begun to explore the classics, and a prolific writer and poet. She enjoyed taking photographs and listening to music, and liked to cook with her brother and mother; they were planning to make healthy snacks to sell this summer at local farmers markets. She had a passion for the arts, even at the young age of 14.
She was born at home in East Hampton on April 30, 1999, to Rameshwar Das and Kate Rabinowitz, on the Buddha full moon, the same lunar calendar day on which her brother, James, had been born two years earlier.
She was supported in her early years not only by her parents, but by caretakers including Kelsang Wangmu, a young Tibetan woman newly arrived from Nepal; three Scottish girls, Alice Chapman, Rebecca Watt, and Lynn Fraser, on successive summers, and by Tamara Asher, a New Zealand Maori. Sara Karl, recruited by young Anna at a concert event in New York, was also a part of the family for several years, according to her parents.
Anna attended the early childhood program at the now defunct Hampton Day School, where she made two lifelong best friends, Julia Friedrich and Josie Battle. Her family recalled that when she was 5 a relative asked her how she saw her life. “I’m either asleep or on an adventure,” she replied. That year, the family lived for three months in India, where Anna got to ride on elephants and meet “wonderful spiritual figures,” the family wrote. She returned to kindergarten at the Springs School, where she had “an extraordinary cadre of teachers.”
She was to have graduated from the school’s eighth grade tonight and was excited to go on to high school at the Ross School, where her brother is already a student.
Anna died on Saturday at Stony Brook Hospital after being struck by a car while riding her bicycle in East Hampton Village, as reported on Page 1 in this issue.
At Springs, she played on the soccer and lacrosse teams. When she was 8, the family wrote, she appeared on a TV program with Amy Polar demonstrating yoga poses learned from her mother, a yoga teacher. “She had a great interest in health and well-being and loved flowers and gardening with her dad, and picking at Quail Hill Farm,” said her family.
Anna’s adventures included travels with the family, including her grandparents Alan and Andrea Rabinowitz, to England, Scotland, and New Mexico. She went on a dinosaur dig in Colorado, followed the Lewis and Clark trail to Washington State, camped in Glacier Park, visited the islands of the Northwest and Canada, and took a Eurail trip to Italy in 2010 with stops in Venice and Assisi, among other places. The family made summer trips to Martha’s Vineyard.
Anna spent three summers at farm and wilderness camp in Vermont and planned to return again this year. After one camp canoe trip she wrote a poem about the experience that shows its profound impact on her as well as her talent as a poet. The poem, which her parents shared, closes as the canoe reaches 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
After completing our work.
In her memory, her 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 sent to the foundation at P.O. Box 625, Amagansett 11930.