They enter the Apache reservation fifteen minutes north of Grace, and Loyd explains some of the history of land ownership in the region. While Loyd buys his birds, Codi waits outside, listening and observing the reservation life. They continue driving north, talking about Loyd's youth in the area. As they go on, Loyd puts his hand on Codi's thigh, which she enjoys immensely. They stop at the Kinishba, which Loyd describes as eight hundred year-old "prehistoric condos," built by his mother's people, the Pueblo Indians. Loyd explains the architecture and irrigation systems, until Codi pulls him over and begins to kiss him. They end up making love. As they talk later, Loyd reveals that he has never brought another person to that spot but that he had been looking forward to introducing Codi to it for a long time. He also apologizes for being so inconsiderate of her when they were in high school. For a moment, Codi thinks he will apologize for getting her pregnant, but, to her relief, he appears to have no idea. Next, they wonder about Jack's and then other animals' dreams, as Loyd tells Codi that he cares for her a great deal and impresses her deeply with his interest in her thoughts, which are similar to his.
Although he was unable to communicate with his daughters, Doc Homer was incredibly concerned about and involved with their lives. His incapacity to tell them what he knew, however, often prevented him from being of immediate assistance. It is only as he begins to lose his mind that he can tell them how much he has always known. However, his illness often prevents him from communicating directly and clearly with anyone, and he ends up saying to a current patient what he meant to say decades earlier to Codi. As the only doctor in Grace, Doc Homer has assisted in almost every pregnancy and birth in the town. In this way, he is one of the few men to be closely linked to fertility.
The prevalence of cock fighting on the Reservation undoes any simple idealization of Native American culture in the novel. Just an all other communities, life on the Reservation is plagued with problems such as alcoholism and destructive behavior. It is impossible, however, to simply judge any one action or even any pattern of behavior as good or as bad. Loyd's cockfighting, for example, is part of his connection to his father, and cockfighting in general is a relatively harmless distraction for the men and women on the Reservation. Although ultimately Codi still disapproves of cockfighting, she also allows herself to understand it and to see that her judgment is a personal one with which she cannot expect everyone to agree.
Codi's relationship to her medical skills is incredibly troubled. Although she is able to use her skills to help people and even to save a life, she is haunted by her lack of a license and the as yet undisclosed event that led to her leaving medical school. More than just the realization that she does not have a license to practice medicine, Codi does not want to be viewed as a lifesaver. Saving lives, in her mind, is the concern of Doc Homer and Hallie, not of hers.
Although she was aware of a problem, Codi does not become involved in Grace's river until a chance school project brings it home to her. Codi is not a crusader; she does not want to be involved in causes. However, when a problem presents itself to her, she does not ignore it. After understanding the enormous damage being caused by the mine, Codi takes the step of asking Viola about it directly. Codi would like to trust, as the men do, in the effectiveness of the Environmental Protection Agency.
In her relationship with Loyd, Codi takes an active role. She is comfortable and confident in her sexuality. Although in her memories of Loyd in high school he was a sexually voracious teenager who slept with as many girls as he could, now he and Codi are on equal footing sexually. He is the one to speak first of caring for her. The novel presents sexuality in matter-of-fact terms. Theirs is not a case of love at first sight, but of slow, stuttering development. The romance between Codi and Loyd is important, but it is not idealized and does not take precedence over the elements of the story, just as their sexual attraction for one another does not overrun their emotional connection. In fact, Codi seems to be as attracted to Loyd's sense of history and community as she is to his body.