Although the cause of the holocaust that has occurred before the start of this book is never fully explored, the entire book is punctuated with references to the natural world and how it has become completely eradicated. The ground no longer yields any food, and there are no birds in the sky. Mankind is left to fight over the few resources that are left to them, which only consist of canned or dried produce and human meat. Yet if we look at the text carefully we see every now and again that the father has memories of what life was like beforehand which include a number of powerful natural images. Consider the following example:
In that long ago somewhere very near this place he'd watched a falcon fall down the long blue wall of the mountain and break withthe keel of its breastbone the midmost from a flight of cranes and take it to the river below all gangly and wrecked and trailing its loose and blowsy plumage in the still autumn air.
This is a sight that will never be seen again on earth, and McCarthy seems to use this story through such images as a powerful warning to mankind about one possible future that will face us if we carry on using and abusing the earth's resources to such a major extent.