In my old age, specially in grinding, when I saw an empty cane field, it always made me feel lonely. The rows looked so naked and gray and lonely-like an old house where the people moved from.

Cherry makes this statement in Chapter 6 as the men are walking toward the Marshall Plantation to help Mathu. The cleared sugar cane field reminds Cherry of the times that have past. The sugar cane once represented the livelihood for the blacks. Although their work was not easy, the entire community lived and worked together on the plantation. Their work bound them together as did their stories and songs. In those days, people of all ages worked the soil and the black community was vibrant and thriving. Since the arrival of the Cajuns, the black's relationship to cane has changed. The Cajuns brought tractors to work the land, thereby reducing the need for physical laborers. The tractors displaced many of the local blacks such that the only people left on the plantation are very old men and a few young children. With no middle aged adult population, the days of the thriving black community has ended. Now the sugar cane is growing wilder since less people care for it. Cherry compares the clear cane field to an empty house that friends have moved out of. His comparison is virtually literal, since the original black community has almost completely left its original house, the plantation land. Cherry feels sad since his community seems to be dying, whereas it was once constantly replenished with life.