I was just about to turn on the water in the shower when I saw what I thought was a tiny spider in the tub. I reached down to get it out and saw it wasn’t a spider, but a camel cricket.
I thought of how, Rob Dunn, in his book Never Home Alone wrote that camel crickets have been living in our homes since humans lived in caves. There’s actually a cave drawing of one in the Trois-Freres Cave in the Pyrenees. “…we have associated with camel crickets longer than we have farmed crops“, Dunn wrote.
Because of this, I didn’t see the camel cricket as an intruder, but as a housemate. And she seemed to feel the same about me because when I lowered my hand next to her, she hopped onto my finger.
I was sure she would jump off again, but she appeared perfectly at home walking around my hand and arm as I brought her from the bathroom to our cave-like basement, where most camel crickets live.
It might have been the warmth of my skin, but it took some coaxing to get her to hop onto the basement stairs where she could begin her life doing what camel crickets do.
If I hadn’t read Dunn’s book, I would have put the cricket outside, thinking it was where she belonged and had just wandered into the house by accident.
Recently I was talking to our neighbor Vince who brings us gravel for the pole barn once a year. He told me that new houses had to be sealed airtight, spraying foam and caulk in all the possible cracks that naturally occur when building.
I thought of the mold inherent in drywall that just needs the right amount of moisture to grow and I thought of the insects, including the camel crickets that live in our homes and wondered if they’d be able to find their way in.
My breath caught in my chest as Vince talked, I wouldn’t want to live in a house that couldn’t breathe. I won’t want my home to be so separated from nature that a camel cricket couldn’t survive in my basement.