by Eric Poor
Having just turned ninety in July, Ann Day has been writing a long time: “all my life.” She started a novel at age twelve, and the play she wrote about de-icing airplanes when she was in the sixth grade won her a $25 war bond prize in a national contest. As a young girl, she attended a summer camp in Maine where she wrote for a camp newsletter. She developed her poetry and prose and began doing interviews during her boarding school years. And her writing became focused on nature. It was only natural.
“Mostly I just loved being out in the woods,” she said.
Fast forward to the present and Day has now been writing her column, “The Nature of Things,” in Vermont’s Valley Reporter newspaper for forty-eight years. In October, she finished her fourteenth annual appointment calendar, “Poetry Through the Year.” The calendar features her poetry and photos, which have a nature theme. Her poetry has also appeared in literary magazines over the years.
“I’ve been sending things around for quite a long time,” she said. “I’ve won a few prizes.”
Day is also a prolific photographer. “I had a Brownie camera from when I was eight,” she said. Today she carries a compact Canon digital camera and has more than ten thousand images stored on her computer. In addition to illustrating her articles and calendars, Ann has displayed her framed photos at RiverMead and businesses in the area.
Day is the mother of two children, daughter Deb and son Alan; grandmother of two; and great-grandmother of two. She contracted polio in 1953 while pregnant with her son. “I recovered but developed arthritis,” she said.
She lived much of her life in Vermont. Day and her husband, Frank, purchased the historic Knoll Farm in Mad River Valley in 1957. They took a stab at sustainable farming before taking in guests for ski instruction and horseback riding. Both she and her husband were ski instructors in Massachusetts before settling in Vermont.
Frank died in 1970 and is buried on the farm. Alan succumbed to pancreatic cancer in 2008. “He is a great inspiration to me,” Day said. Deb lives in Gettysburg, PA, and Day said: “She is my best friend.”
Day became a member of the Poetry Society of Vermont on the 1960s. When she moved to Peterborough’s RiverMead community five years ago, she soon found the Monadnock Writers’ Group and has been a member ever since.
While nature has been a continuous theme through most of her adult writing life, Day sees her writing changing as she ages.
“I’ve become more mature about my writing,” she said. “I’ve become a lot more conscious of what’s happening to our natural world. I didn’t really think about that before.”
She wrote about that growing awareness in one of her columns for the Valley Reporter.
“Our future and the future of our children and their children depend on the balance we maintain between ourselves and Nature in our daily lives … each day is a constant stream of miracles. We need to learn to respect every moment of our lives on Mother Earth.”
What’s next for this prolific writer? Day expects she’ll put together collections of her haiku and short poems. And she’s considering writing a memoir.
“I really live in the past quite a lot.”