Locomotive In Winter
The Northern Journey, Date To Be Determined
Grand Central Station to The Crystal Palace

SUMMARYCo-Creator, Co-Director, Co-Producer of this lucid dream as-yet-to-be-realized rite of extraordinary passage. It started with Walt Whitman. The year: 2013 or 2014. Friends approached me with the vision of creating an epic winter event that centered on Whitman’s Leaves of Grass. In its beatific pages, I discovered “A Locomotive in Winter” (scroll to the bottom for it in full- read aloud!) which led us to Grand Central and the promise of a train journey. But where was this train going? In what seemed a marvelous act of coincidental magic, the Enid Haupt Conservatory at the NY Botanical Gardens had a miniature train festival underway. We ventured north for a visit: AHH, we were on a journey to the Crystal Palace! Now, we had our basic sketch of the night with a Five Act Arc.

The Five Act Sketch: 
ONE: We meet in Long Island City where attendees form into five groups as the five elements with leaders.
TWO: Grand Central & the gathering of the elements. We travel via various trajectories and enter via various passageways. We spent many hours researching Grand Central, discovering secrets and studying incredible artwork as if psychogeographic talismen. We planned a large newsprint paper to guide explorations and encounters within the passageways and halls of the station. Eventually, the five groups, all with tickets, would enter the magestic main hall and circle clockwise until all attendees were circling clockwise. An operatic singer would appear on the balcony sounding into the room.  Once she ended, all would flow towards the locomotive heading north to the Botanical Garden stop on the Metro North Railway. 
THREE: The Journey North. Troupes of performers read and bring to life Whitman’s extraordinary poem and further fervor.
FOUR: The Crystal Palace and Ceremony of Stars. From the train, the five groups stream together towards the Gardens. Within the Crystal Palace are the horticultural ecosystem, the miniature trains and a bevy of musical acts, installations and interactive performers. All explore this world. At midnight, we gather under the stars in the outdoor courtyard with the palace as backdrop. The evening culminates in a rite of song. Then all can linger until…
FIVE: The Return.  All stream back towards the rails to make the return journey to Grand Central. The journey ends at GC’s massive atrium’s central clock.

Status: Pending: With our vision, choreography and logistics in full stride, we met with the leadership of the Gardens to discuss use of the Conservatory for New Year’s Eve. The good news: It was available. The challenging: The fees! We explored the possibilities. We attempted to actively partner– 1000s discovering the gardens for the first time! The great story of the trains and the poem! etc etc etc– But the moment, for them, was too short notice and fees fixed for that NYE.

The Inner Journey: One of the marvels of outer rites is how they can mirror inner rites. The journey from the guts– the navel of manhattan — to the Crystal Palace, the glands in the center of the brain, on the rails of the central channel is an embryological and alchemical path established as we develop in the womb and entered deeply into in the yogic arts. In the guts, the inner metabolic fire transforms and extracts the essence of all we take in, sending the warmth and life force everywhere. The fire rises to power and open the radiance of five colored light, birthing visions and a blissful overflow. This streams downward through our body, mind and energy centers. We steep and dissolve in warmth and radiance from our deep center to far beyond what we once called our skin– restored. 

Whether I am involved or not, I hope this event, one day, moves from lucid dream to lucid happening. 

Thank you to Walt Whitman and thank you to my co-evisioners. 


To a Locomotive in Winter

by Walt Whitman
Thee for my recitative,
Thee in the driving storm even as now, the snow, the winter-day declining,	 
Thee in thy panoply, thy measur'd dual throbbing and thy beat convulsive,	 
Thy black cylindric body, golden brass, and silvery steel,
Thy ponderous side-bars, parallel and connecting rods, gyrating, shuttling at thy sides,         
Thy metrical, now swelling pant and roar, now tapering in the distance,	 
Thy great protruding head-light fix’d in front,	 
Thy long, pale, floating vapor-pennants, tinged with delicate purple,	 
The dense and murky clouds out-belching from thy smoke-stack,
Thy knitted frame, thy springs and valves, the tremulous twinkle of thy wheels,	  
Thy train of cars behind, obedient, merrily following,	 
Through gale or calm, now swift, now slack, yet steadily careering; 
Type of the modern—emblem of motion and power—pulse of the continent,
For once come serve the Muse and merge in verse, even as here I see thee,
With storm and buffeting gusts of wind and falling snow,	  
By day thy warning ringing bell to sound its notes,	
By night thy silent signal lamps to swing.	 
Fierce-throated beauty!	 
Roll through my chant with all thy lawless music, thy swinging lamps at night,
Thy madly-whistled laughter, echoing, rumbling like an earthquake, rousing all,
Law of thyself complete, thine own track firmly holding,
(No sweetness debonair of tearful harp or glib piano thine,)
Thy trills of shrieks by rocks and hills return’d,	
Launch’d o’er the prairies wide, across the lakes,	
To the free skies unpent and glad and strong.