The Arbor Day Foundation describes the Catalpa as “a tree that demands your attention. White, showy flowers. Giant heart-shaped leaves. Dangling bean-like seed pods. Twisting trunk and branches. How could you not stop to take it in?”
Since at least the Spring, hundreds or even thousands have taken in Natick’s own little sidewalk Catalpa, which we’ve dubbed “Coney,” because it was growing through an orange Natick Highway Department cone. This was no Cone of Shame: Coney wore its bright plastic coat proudly.
A Google Maps image from 2019 shows that Coney, pre-Cone, appears to have popped up some time ago when a metal pole with no sign on it protruded from the sidewalk.
But the community this week mourns the apparent passing of this spirited young scrapper that sprang forth in front of the Neighborhood Wrench auto repair shop at the corner of East Central (Rte. 135) and Union Streets in Natick.
Apparently even the mechanics at the auto repair shop had no way to fix this little tree’s issues (we reached out to the shop, but haven’t heard back). I’ve also pestered Natick’s Public Works Department to see if they might have any info.
Reader Dennis McCormick, who shared a couple of photos of Coney, wrote: “Drivers going eastbound on Central St have been rooting for this tree since spring.”
But as McCormick’s photos show, something went awry. Whether it was the drought, a tree hugger who hugged too tightly, or a miscreant, Coney went from mighty to defeated.
Coney had its whole life before it. Maybe it could have become a South Natick Dam log one day. Possibilities were endless.
And yet another distressing tree story for Natick this summer following the removal of infested ash trees on Natick Common.
When I ran by Coney’s spot on Wednesday, along the Boston Marathon course, the sapling and cone were both gone. So that’s that, unless some kind-hearted soul transplanted Coney.
But wait. Even if that didn’t happen, there did appear to be the slightest, tiniest green shoot in the hole where the signpost once stood.
This may not be over yet…