WHEN WE LIVED IN RIVER OAKS, three or four boys and I would go down to the creek when it was hot, when the dragonflies were louder than the wind and the air was so still that it felt like it weighed a ton—but you’re seven years old and you don’t care; you’re running around with no shoes. One day we were trying to do the smart thing and overcome our fascination with a rattlesnake we’d found. The bigger boys were playing with it with a stick, and I was running up, taking a look, then running away. I finally prevailed upon the smarter of the group to depart the area and leave the friggin’ snake alone. Our playground was the hills and the woods. We didn’t have television and we didn’t have strip malls. We had bicycles. We walked. Back then a kid could go damn near anywhere he wanted and not fear for anything. Fearless nature boys: My fondest memory of Texas is of being a little boy in those woods.

Musician Stephen Stills grew up in Dallas, San Antonio, and Houston. On August 19 he’ll perform at Austin’s Backyard at Bee Cave with David Crosby and Graham Nash as part of a nationwide tour.