The Tree Spirits of St. Simon’s Island

Thursday, 6 June 2013, 14:10 | Category : Other Stuff, Photography, Southern Stuff
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St. Simon’s Island is one of those lesser-known gems of the southeast United States. It sits about an hour north of Jacksonville, beside Brunswick, Georgia. It’s a beautiful little island community that has somehow escaped the overbuilding and commercialism that has afflicted places like Gulf Shores, Alabama. It has a nice white beach, although much of it gets submerged during high tide, and hundreds of live oaks that cover the island. And on some of these live oaks, you can find faces carved into knots on the trunk. Local sculptor Keith Jennings is the responsible party, carving his first spirit in 1982 when, as he says, he had “too much time and too little money”. This was his first spirit:

It doesn’t look like anything now, because the tree has, as Jennings puts it, “reclaimed” the spirit. This and his second spirit were in the yard of the house where he lived then. Here’s the second spirit, now being reclaimed by the tree:

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