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Thoreau chances on walking across a field. He sees a man standing amidst the ruins of his burnt cabin,
"he groped long about the wall to find the well-sweep which his father had cut and mounted, feeling for the iron hook or staple by which a burden had been fastened to the heavy end—all that he could now cling to—to convince me that it was no common "rider." I felt it, and still remark it almost daily in my walks, for by it hangs the history of a family."
Although Thoreau is a man of the elements, he is not immune to the pain of human loss. He sees the burden of the man and internalizes, thinking often of the pain and suffering that befalls man even in his natural state andenvironment.