Water in many forms symbolizes new realizations and new decisions for the characters. When Lou Ann receives a bottle of tug fork creek water to baptize her son Dwayne Ray, she realizes that she is no longer connected to her old home and needs to build her own family in Tucson. Yet when Angel pours that water out, Lou Ann starts to understand that she will not start that new life with him. Taylor has a similar experience watching the first rain of summer in Tucson, as she discovers her intense love for her new desert home, yet this rain also foreshadows Turtle’s assault which makes Taylor question her place as Turtle’s mother.
Finally, Taylor makes very important decisions while on lakes. While swimming with Estevan, Taylor first acknowledges her feelings for him. Then, while boating on the Lake of the Cherokees, Taylor says goodbye to that love and comes up with a plan for keeping Turtle for good. Throughout the novel, water is a sign of change for the characters – with all the good and bad consequences that those changes bring.