Rivera's story delineates the isolation and lonliness of the migrant worker life. These are people with little family and no sense of home. Suspicion and fear of being abondoned cause the workers to remain isolated from each other. Don Trine is the best example of this. He feels alone, but he also isolates himself, not allowing them to walk with him.
The symbolism is in the actions of Don Trine. As the young worker discovers, Trine finds comfort from submerging an arm in the warm embrace of the earth. The earth is symbolized as a living breathing being. The earth does not judge, however, only accepts and comforts, gives life through air, food and drink. The young worker, like Trine, finds that connecting with this "being" provides comfort, and concludes that he should respect it more. The message is that humans need to have contact with one another, need to come together as a community.