Now, it is spring. Still small islands of snow in the north-facing pockets of his Cabot estate, but everywhere else, the green-brown of winter-killed field and forest. Last week, he skied twice and rode his bicycle four times, an Olympian week by the recent standards of his athletic life.

Always, he feels the pull at this time of year: There’s the desire to play, to spin the pedals for hours at a time, lost in the trance of the road or trail and the feel of his skin tightening under the hard April sun. And there’s the need to attend to the particulars of the farm: Yesterday, for instance, he tore down an old chicken fence, transplanted 50-raspberry plants, planted peas, and harvested firewood. Then, he had lunch.

There is no economic justification for his toil. If he were a thinking man, he’d give it up, buy his food at the food store, install an oil-burning furnace, kick back a bit. Ride his bike. But he’s always run on instinct and feel. Maybe this lack of rationale is merely proof of a life’s passion. Or maybe, as his wife so often suggests, it’s more evidence of his stubborn nature, his pig-headed approach to a world that vexes him no end.

Today, he’ll fix the cow’s fence. Tomorrow, maybe, he’ll ride.

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