• Melanie

Rowan's Tree: A year-long photo project

On September 26, 2016 we lost a wonderful friend in the form of a Golden Retriever named Rowan.

He was diagnosed with a rare form of stomach cancer and died at the age of nine.

Anyone who ever met Tom Solinsky knew Rowan, and he brightened the days of many people as he smiled out of the side of Tom's Jeep.


Photo by Tom Solinsky


On the day of his death, we gathered with the Solinskys and some close friends and performed a rogue burial and tree-planting in Rowan's favorite park.

After that day, I went to the tree on an almost weekly basis to document it's first year of growth.

Going so often to the site of Rowan's grave helped me process the grief I feel from losing him. Documenting the tree also gave me a physical reminder that, while Rowie is no longer with us, his body is helping create nutrients for this tree to grow, which means there's still a piece of him in the park, and will be for years to come.

I've selected the best examples of the seasons here:


I've created a slideshow (less than a minute long) of the entire project through the year. 

Original music by The One and Only Bill Davis


I have admiration for other artists and their bodies of work and ongoing projects, and I often overlook my own. While I regret the circumstances, this project was a positive and productive way to move forward through the sadness of losing such a great friend-dog.

Did you complete any self-appointed projects in 2017? Share your successes and challenges in the comments.