The wood isn’t prized like walnut, oak and cherry, and their leaves aren’t especially glorious in fall like maples and ginkgo, but there is a special place in my heart for the catalpa tree. I grew up one street over from the aptly named Catalpa Avenue in small town Indiana. I played under these giant trees, with their huge leaves, long, cigar-like seed pods, and twisted, striated bark. I took them for granted then, but upon reflection, their presence was reassuring. The rest of my life was often confusing, frightening, and painful, but these trees could be relied on. They were strong, giant protectors, for my sisters and me, holding our little world to the earth, like silent super heroes, strategically positioned along the streets of our neighborhood. Seeing these catalpa leaves and seed pods on my walk through the neighborhood yesterday brought a flood of memories. I celebrate the gift of the Catalpa Tree.