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Before I got involved in doing chores at Trow-Rico, before I discovered girls and pot and playing in bands, I had a great life in the woods with my slingshot and BB gun. As soon as we got up there, I'd be gone in the woods and fields. And never came back till dinnertime. I was a mountain boy, barefoot and wild. I walked through the woods, looked up at the trees, the birds, the squirrels—it was my own private paradise. I'd tie a stick to a rope and make a swing from any tree branch. I was brought up that way, a wild child of the woods and ponds. But of course, nobody believes that about me. They don't know what to think when I say, "You know, I'm just a country boy."

No waves, no wind. If you go into a recording studio that's soundproofed, something just feels wrong to your ears. Especially when they close the door—that's sound deprivation; it's anechoic, without echo, without sound. Not so in the woods. In that silence I heard something else there, too.

I lost all that mystery when I was on drugs. Coming out of that din I was able to feel my spiritual connection to the woods again. Drugs will steal you like a crook; spirituality over, I could no longer see the things I used to see in my peripheral vision. No periphery, no visions.

I used to go up there and sit by myself and hear the wind blow. As a kid, I'd come across places where the woodland creatures lived. Tiny human creatures. I'd see mossy beds, cushions of pine needle, nooks and crannies under the roots of upturned trees, hollow logs. I'd look around for elves, because how could it be that beautiful and strange and nobody live there! All of this tweaked my imagination into such a state that I knew there was something there besides me. If you could sleep on moss that thick it would be bliss. I'd smell that green grass. I would see a natural little grotto in the woods and say to myself, "That's where their house must be."

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