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1. Now that civilization has fallen, the mountain has returned to its natural state and is reestablished as a key feature in the scene.
2. The moon confirms the time of day as evening, thus completing the cycle begun with The Savage State at dawn.
3. A bird builds a nest on top of a column once supporting a temple or palace, while her mate drinks from the pool of water below. This twosome may be an allusion to the pairs of animals that survived the Biblical flood.
4. Nature is slowly reclaiming the ruins of the empire, and although this is a sign of civilization's end, the architectural fragments have a melancholy beauty.
5. These ruins recall those that Cole sketched on his first trip to Europe (1829-32).
6. First seen being hunted in the Savage State, and then depicted in a frozen state in the frieze from Consummation, deer now freely roam the landscape.
7. The remnants of the frieze in the Doric temple of Consummation signify that nature's cycles are more powerful than anything constructed by human hands, no matter how exquisite or refined.