Time, he thought, was like the onions he had just peeled. Layer on layer, and to get down to the heart of things you let the layers peel off, one by one.
The quote from the end of Chapter 43 speaks to Tom's feelings of renewal and rebirth. When Tom returns to native environment, he resumes the activities of his Ute upbringing. His interaction with the creatures of the wilderness represents a renewed communion with the natural world. The environment and the renewal of the rituals of his heritage create a connection to his youth that he has not felt for decades.