That's where my spirit was born. Of course, I got introduced to spirituality through religion, too, from the Presbyterian Church in the Bronx and my choir teacher, Miss Ruth Lonshey. At the age of 6, I learned all the hymns (and a few hers). I fell in love with two girls on either side of me in the choir. And of course they had to be twins. I remember being 5 and sitting next to my mother in a pew at that church, looking up at the altar that held the Bible and a beautiful golden chalice, with the minister looming over it. There was a golden tapestry that hung down to the floor with a crucifix embroidered on the front. I was all wrapped up in the tradition of getting up, sitting down, getting up, singing, sitting down, praying, singing, praying, getting up, praying, singing, and hoping all this would take me somewhere closer to heaven. I thought for sure God must be RIGHT THERE under THAT altar. Just as I'd thrown a blanket over the dinning room chairs to create a fortress, a safe, powerful place, kinda churchlike, with the added bonus of imagination. WOW, all of this combined together in one beautiful moment of ME, feeling GOD. But then I'd met Her once before in the forest.

I would walk in Sunapee with a slingshot in my back pocket over the meadow and through the woods until I got lost...and that's when my adventure would begin. I would come upon giant trees so full of chestnuts that the branches would bend, bushes full of wild blackberries, raspberries, and chokecherries, acres of open fields full of wild strawberries in the grass—so much so that when I was mowing the lawn, it smelled like my mom's homemade jam. I would find animal footprints, hawk feathers, fireflies, fairy rings of mushrooms in the shape of Hobbit houses that I was told were left by Frodo and Arwen from Lord of the Rings. Incidentally, those were the same mushrooms that I would later eat and that would magically force my pen to write the lyrics to songs like "Sweet Emotion." In choir, I was singing to God, but on mushrooms, God was singing to me.

I pretended I was a Lakota Indian with a bow and arrow—"One shot, one kill"—only I had my BB gun—"One BB, one bird." Me and my imaginary buddy Chingachogook, moving silently through the woods. I was a deadeye shot; I'd come back after an afternoon of killing with my slingshot and Red Ryder BB gun with a string of blue jays tied to my belt. That part wasn't imaginary. I had watched every spring how blue jays raided the nests of other birds and flew away with their babies. My uncle had told me that blue jays were carnivorous, just like hawks and lawyers.


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