In the middle of that gray month Emelina's youngest son learned to walk. I was alone with him when it happened. The sun had come out briefly as I walked home form school, and the baby and I were both anxious to be outdoors. Emelina asked if I could just not let him eat any real big bugs, and I promised to keep an eye out. I settled with a book in the courtyard, which was radiant with sudden sunlight. The flowers were beaten down, their bent-over heads bejeweled with diamond droplets like earrings on sad, rich widows.
It is February, two months since Hallie's abduction. They have received no new information. In her depression, Codi has stopped seeing Loyd almost completely and barely keeps her classes going. In the midst of all this, life goes on. This passage is a beautiful example of the way perspective is given to each of the characters' individual concerns. The focus on fertility and on Native American culture gives a sense of the bigger picture and of the cyclical nature of the world. This is a small but extremely touching example of the same concept. The boy is referred to not by his name, Nicholas, but by his status, as the youngest of Emelina's sons. This establishes the scene as not simply referring to one individual incident, but as symbolizing the general continuation of life even in the face of such great tragedy. In addition, this passage exemplifies the natural imagery employed throughout the novel. The weather is used throughout to reflect the emotions of the characters. Here the rain symbolizes Codi's sadness, while the burst of sun both allows and represents the possibility for renewal. Trees and plants are described in great detail and in great abundance, throughout Animal Dreams, making the novel not only about the land, but also a literal assurance that the novel is based on and is made up of natural elements.