Chapter 10 Summary

Jody is recovering from being slightly ill. His mother is certain it is a fever and chills, but he suspects he just ate too many unripe berries. She makes him drink something she has created, and it is not as bad as some of her concoctions. Jody feels a bit guilty that his father has had to do all the chores for the past two days, but he did not want to take the purging medicine which his mother certainly would have given him. Once he is up, Jody eats and goes to see his father; Baxter figured his son’s illness was because of too many green berries. They decide to go fishing.

Along the way they see six Minorcans with bags over their shoulders; they are hunting gophers, the “last food the inhabitants of the scrub considered edible.” Baxter tells Jody they are poor but peaceful people. They find a promising pond and soon Jody is struggling to land a huge fish. At times during the struggle the boy wants to quit, but he finally lands the ten-pound bass.

Baxter is proud of Jody and wants to catch an even bigger fish. After a while, Jody hears his father’s special whistle and they crawl to a spot where his father has spied whooping cranes. Jody counts sixteen of them. It is an amazing sight: the birds doing an awkward, magical dance before finally flexing their wings and flying away in a line and then vanishing.

It is dusk and the Baxters walk home in a silence punctuated by the sounds of nature. They ate their fish dinner in an almost trance-like silence, still stunned by the unearthly beauty they had seen.