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Word Gems 

exploring self-realization, sacred personhood, and full humanity


Winter Wonderland



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to face unafraid, the plans that we made



Winter Wonderland

Sleigh bells ring, are you listening
In the lane, snow is glissing
A beautiful sight, we're happy tonight,
walking in a winter wonderland.
Gone away is the blue bird
Here to stay is the new bird
He sings a love song
As we go along
Walking in a winter wonderland.

In the meadow we can build a snowman
Then pretend that he is Parson Brown
He'll say: Are you married?
We'll say: No man
But you can do the job
When you're in town

Later on, we'll conspire
As we dream by the fire
To face unafraid
The plans that we've made

Walking in a winter wonderland.

In the meadow we can build a snowman
And pretend that he's a circus clown
We'll have lots of fun with mister snowman, until the other kiddies knock him down.

Later on, we'll conspire
As we dream by the fire,
To face unafraid,
The plans that we've made,

Walking in a winter wonderland



Elenchus. Annie Lennox of the Eurythmics does such a good job with her version of “Winter Wonderland.”

Kairissi. There’s something really magical about that song.

E. It’s more than a Christmas carol, more than an ode to the beauties of nature. I’ve listened to “Winter Wonderland” so many times, but I’m still emotionally jarred every time I hear the words, “to face unafraid the plans that we made.”

K. It was never meant to be a Christmas song – there’s no reference to the holidays in it. The songwriter had other things on his mind. There’s a sad story behind “Winter Wonderland.” I was reading about it.

E. What happened?

K. Twenty-eight year-old Richard Smith of Pennsylvania married Jean Connor in 1930. The next year he contracted tuberculosis. His condition grew progressively worse, until he died in 1935.

E. They were together for only five years… and I’m beginning to see how “to face unafraid, the plans that we made” found its way into the song. But, please continue. How did he deal with his illness?

K. Richard was growing weaker. On cold winter days he would sit by a window, watching children play in the snow. And he would dream about a better life in which he could enjoy a “winter wonderland” with his new bride.

E. (silence)

K. Richard’s vision of romance and happiness with the girl he loved amidst Nature’s snowy glory inspired him to write a poem. It’s how he wanted to live – to feel joy “to the top,” to revel in a carefree, unbothered existence with Jean.

E. His joyfulness is all the more remarkable as those were the years of The Great Depression, when thoughts of gloom and defeat had infected the national psyche.

K. By 1934 the poem was complete, and Richard approached his friend, Felix Bernard, skilled at music composition. Richard didn’t live to see the finished project, but Felix would transform “Winter Wonderland” into one of the most popular songs of all time.

E. … “to face unafraid, the plans that we made.”

K. Tell me what you see, Elenchus.

E. It’s interesting how Richard cast the lovers, probably, as young teens.

K. The song hints at the possibility that these young romantics might have even been a little younger. In the less-known second verse, the snowman is being knocked down by “other kiddies” – another version has it "all the kids." Dear, I'm not sure if we have Richard's exact original final draft of "Winter Wonderland," but I won't worry about that -- I'd like to give you my own version. As I see it, this very joyful girl and boy are fairly young, and still consider themselves to be "kids."

E. I’m thinking they’re 12 or 13 – not old enough to direct their own lives quite yet, but having attained a minimum sufficient freedom to spend some time together by an evening fireplace.

K. I’m being persuaded by your theory, and if we’re correct, then these two might be the classic “girl and boy next door." They’re too young to be given permission to traipse across town on a “date-date,” but, if they’d grown up together, it would be natural for them to be in each other’s homes by a fireplace…

E. And that’s why, not yet of an age to enjoy total liberty, they feel the need to “conspire”…

K. (smiling)

E. … thereby pursuing their romance “under the radar.”

K. (softly laughing) Uh-huh. The fathers were likely oblivious to conspiratorial ways, but the mothers would know everything.

E. (smiling) mmm...

K. Our whole romance back then was “under the radar,” stuck there and out of sight, and you were the last to know.

E. Well, I have another story about a “winter wonderland,” and it’s about you.

K. Now I'm worried.

E. In the song, they talk about being in the “meadow.” I was walking in a meadow once. It was March. There’d been a recent snowfall, and it had frozen into a bejeweled crust. I could walk on it, slide on it, and the hard surface didn’t break.

K. Oh… I wish I could have been there with you.

E. It was unusual. Snow naturally reflects sunlight, but this was different. The frozen albion mantle had created a lustrous prism, enhancing the sun’s reflection, causing common radiance to issue as a sea of diamonds.

K. (sighing)



E. I’d never seen anything like it, and I’ve often been around snow. The entire meadow had been repainted as a vast carpet-expanse of twinkling “stardust.” I stood aghast at the beauty. And as I observed this marvel, a phrase came to mind – “glistening, shimmering, sparkling”…

K. (smiling)

E. -- and in that moment… I thought of you.

K. (silence)

E. And I said to myself, “This is what I live with all the time.”

K. (softly) -- the “sparkles in your head.”

E. Yeah…


Editor's note: See the other-side channeled testimony of Sir John Pensley regarding the unveiling of previously-unseen reality coming to us as "tiny flashes" of light. I submit that Twin Souls, within their own domain of discovery of "what's real", might also experience this smallest incremental luminescent display in the form of what Elenchus calls "sparkles in the head." This should not seem strange as Twins, even as children, might become privy to the unfolding of "ultimate reality."


K. Ellus, you've said you experienced "the sparkles" even when you didn't like me. You said this happened when you were around me even as a young boy. But tell me, Dearest -- is it really true? Can children fall in love? I mean, find the true love? Give me your best answer.

E. I think they can; of course, it’s problematic, but they can. Finding true love is not primarily a function of years; it takes more than time. It requires a shift, a ratcheting-up, in consciousness.

K. Can children achieve that?

E. It’s rare; but then, it’s also rare among the so-called adults on this planet. A further complication is that even when better awareness arrives, it might come, in the beginning, in fits-and-starts, as it might be easy, for a time, to repress and sweep under the rug.

K. And so, some children, those "soul pledged," might catch a glimpse of true love, but it wouldn’t necessarily remain as a settled state of mind.

E. I think that’s right.

K. Ellus, we both know this is what happened to us with our “peak experiences.”

E. Yes – the “peak experiences,” but also the “constructive assent.”

K. Elenchus, do you recall the story of the two eight year-old kids, a boy and girl, each with parents who worked as missionaries in a third-world country? The boy, astonishingly aware, fearing that he might lose his little friend, pledged marriage to her if she would wait for him to grow up. She accepted. He sealed the contract with a gift, a small vial of perfume borrowed from his mother. They made good on their mutual promises and twelve years later they were married. Apparently this is a true story. What do you make of this, Dear?

E. I think things like this can happen. I recall Will Durant discussing the ancient Egyptian culture, and he used the phrase regarding little girls then, “nubile at ten.” In times past, children were considered virtual adults at ten or twelve. What we today call adolescence, a prolonging of childhood, was largely unknown in pre-industrial societies.

K. That’s very interesting. Maybe the story of the two eight-year old lovers is true. And it makes sense: those two missionary kids experienced a good deal of hardship living in a back-water country, and it would only be natural for them to rely on each other for companionship to a degree not seen in a typical Western Hollywood-culture world.

E. What does this say about what happened to us, Kriss?

K. I’m suddenly seeing some things. We’ve admitted to ourselves that we did not treat each other very well back then. But if we had lived a life of material privation, we might not have allowed ourselves the luxury of petulance and churlishness. Because we, in fact, do have a deep bond, we did perceive the occasional “peak experience,” but there was no ready impetus in our relatively easy lives to develop this into true relationship, as was the case for the kids in the third-world country.

E. I think this is plausible.

K. I believe that our “constructive assent” led our hearts to "dream" and to make “plans," though, at times, only subliminally. I think my statements here are true, but, as I make them, I also see that we fell victim to an antecedal requirement ignored – “to face unafraid.” We weren’t yet able, or willing, to do that, and so everything fell apart and was put on hold.

E. Richard Smith presents an ideal, and very few, maybe none, can actually do this flawlessly. But, Kriss, why don’t you sum-up for us the message of this song.

K. It’s a song about rejoicing; about two young lovers "living in the joy" and celebrating -- for what they have together, and for the many good things they'll yet share; and they’re so giddily exuberant because they know, they can feel it, deep down, the reality of it all -- they have each other, and need nothing else.

E. This reminds me of the Guides' message in The Wedding Song -- that authentic lovers' own unshakeable conviction regarding the palpable and substantive fervency of their own romance and relationship becomes part of the evidence, a "witness" -- not only to themselves, but to the world -- that true eternal love, in fact, exists.

K. That's a beautiful truth. And maybe this is why "Winter Wonderland" is the most popular, the most played, holiday song ever, having been recorded by more than 200 different artists. The pretty tune alone doesn't account for its massive success. I think that people are resonating with a great truth portrayed by two kids rejoicing, making those plans, unafraid, dreaming together, to share love forever.

E. Maybe we should try it sometime.

K. (sighing) Yeah...

E. Richard wrote of his "Winter Wonderland" image of joy when he was dying. I’d like to think that he’d already caught the tiniest snowflake’s view of our coming happiness in Summerland.

K. Maybe Richard was like the third-world kids suffering privation. As his suffering increased, as death neared, he seemed to see life and love more clearly, what's truly important. And what he saw was joy.

E. Great insight, Krissi.

K. Most of us will need to wait for Summerland for the fruition of "the joy," all of those happy “plans we made.” But it's coming for everyone.

E. Thank you, Dearest. But let me ask you one more question on this topic. I can see Richard sitting, transfixed, at that window, thinking of better times to come. And he would have already been missing Jean and the life together they would soon lose. He was dealing with his own fears, of course, a threat of loss regarding "the plans" that Jean and he had made. But, in his hopeful ecstatic vision of future happiness, I'm wondering, why did he cast the song's two lovers as children? Why not make them 30-something, as he and Jean, in fact, were?

K. That’s an interesting question. And just now as we speak I believe that Heaven has given me an answer. Minutes ago we asked, “Can children find true love?” – but now I’m wondering... if anyone else can.

E. mmm... Keep going on this.

K. To be truly in love, to live in and to become recipient of love's splendor, requires us to dismantle our heavy psychological defense-mechanisms; to cast away the "games people play”; to make ourselves open, naked, and vulnerable to each other's spirit; to trust, to believe, to surrender to each other. Adults don’t do that very well. I think it’s as Jesus said: “to enter the kingdom” – for us, the kingdom of eternal romantic bliss – “we must become as little children.”

E. I think I was a "bratty kid" for you back then.

K. Elenchus, you said you’re emotionally jarred every time you hear the words, “to face unafraid the plans that we made.” That sounds like a “tip of an iceberg” reaction. There’s something going on below with that. Tell me what this really means to you.

E. The phrase “to face unafraid, the plans that we made” seems harmless enough. But it accesses something wide and deep concerning true romantic love. It’s so important that I want to save it for another discussion when we can concentrate on it. But, for now, let me give you a short answer.

K. Please.

E. Women don’t always realize it, but, as a general rule, men named "John" are constitutionally unable to “make plans” with a mate; not really. It’s too threatening, you see. It's all of those things you just listed about being vulnerable. Men have to give up some of their power to "make plans." We don’t like that. We’d rather be “head honcho” and just do whatever we want and not ask anybody.

K. And this is the standard view of men named “John”?

E. John not only doesn’t truly want to “make plans” with Mary, he doesn’t even really want to talk to her at all. Well, he will, to maintain a civilized appearance, in order to keep Mary from running to the hills. He needs to sleep with her, and so he’ll offer certain concessions. And he might grudgingly make some plans with her, for operating the household and all mundane things like that, but his heart's not in it. He’d rather just railroad through whatever he wants to do.

K. But then we have a song which virtually puts lovers “making plans” as front and center of their joy.

E. That’s why it’s so jarring, so anomalous, so out of character. Because when a man finds his true one, when his name is no longer “John,” now, suddenly, like a mad man, he can’t get enough of talking to her and “making plans” with her!

K. John and Mary know nothing of this dynamic.

E. It’s so important that I count it as one of the very top tests of true love. Let us agree to speak of this again when we can discuss it at length.

K. Ok…

E. I’d like to say one more thing. It’s indirectly related to our discussion, but it's part of “winter wonderland.” -- I have a fantasy about us.

K. (smiling) Just one?

E. (small smile) Must I reveal all my secrets?

K. (softly laughing) What did I just say about being open and vulnerable?

E. (small smile) I’ll tell you about the others at the right time; but… I’ve always wanted to be “snowed in” with you.



K. (small smile) mmm… Will we be “dreaming by the fire”?

E. Of course.

K. It’s interesting, isn’t it, Ellus – two young kids, meant to be together, can “make plans,” but not necessarily consciously. Of course, we had a long discussion on this “subliminal” aspect in the “constructive assent” writing, and so we shouldn't go into it again right now, but… it is amazing.

E. Absolutely.

K. Just to offer a few words, how would you say this works for them?

E. Well, as we’ve intimated, most of it is well “under the radar.”

K. However, years later, as they look back on this, it will all seem pretty obvious then.

E. Every time they look at each other there’s a sort of – how shall I put it? – a jarring disturbance in one’s spirit.

K. (laughing) I think that’s what they call being in love.

E. (small smile) Thank you for informing me.

K. Don’t mention it. But, you actually make a good point. They interact with lots of other kids, but when they interact…

E. … or clash.

K. That, too; but when they do, it feels different. They’re too young to even stop and think about the difference, but on a slightly deeper level…

E. (softly laughing) They don’t have any level deeper than “slightly.”

K. (smiling) I guess, but you’d be surprised - speak for your own species as mine is quite sentient in such matters.

E. Point well taken.

K. Well, we shouldn’t get into this at the moment, especially as we’ve already plowed this ground in “constructive assent.” Let’s send our readers there.

E. Ok, but how would you sum this up in a very brief way.

K. If two kids are destined Twin Souls, that inner “radioactivity” is never parked in neutral. It’s always burning, always attracting them, always preparing them, forming and shaping their capacity for future love. Granted, their own immaturity and egocentrism temporarily shields them from the titanic forces in play, but – the hot-boiling plasma of love never stops bubbling.

E. Kriss, in closing, tell everyone what you mean by “titanic forces in play.”

K. We’ve laid it all out in many writings; but, to reference one, a really good one, see “The Wedding Song: an Earthrise Restatement.” All of God’s plans for humanity, all of divinity’s hopes for our future happiness, the very purpose of the universe and the world - all of it devolves to a single reality-shattering instant of time: the moment when Twins consciously and fully realize who they are to each other!

E. Is that what happened to me?

K. (smiling) I’ll explain it to you someday; but, if you closely examine those "sparkles in your head", you'll find a tiny photo of me embedded in each one.

E. mmm... maybe you photo-shopped this just to confuse me.

K. I don't think so - they're factory-installed and custom-made.



Editor's last word: