The unexpected gift of a critter in the car

Years ago in Strathroy, we lived in a country house. It had a few apple trees in the backyard and a rose garden (Those poor things. I never knew how to look after them very well). It had a single car garage, too, and we always parked our trusty grey Honda inside.  That part of southwestern Ontario gets a whole lot of snow in the winter, and parking in the garage saved us a ton of work.

Unfortunately, we were not the only ones who liked the warm garage in the winter months. A grey mouse also liked it, and he made himself quite at home.

Our first clue was the bag of tulip bulbs–or should I say tulip paper. He ate all the soft flesh of the actual bulbs and left nothing but the papery skins. Arg!

Soon after, we were driving somewhere and I opened the glove box only to find a big cloud of white papery bits. Now the mouse had made a bed in the glove compartment. Sheesh. (Look here if you need information on how to deal with your own mouse in the house.)

When we thought about it a little more it began to make sense. It was warm and dark, and it had a steady food source, too, since my children regularly spilled cheerios in the back seat. We had a little bit of respect for that mouse, even if we did unceremoniously remove his bedroom and chuck it outside. It’s been more than ten years since then and we’ve not had any other creatures decide to call our vehicle home. Until now.

I came out to the van this week where my husband was waiting to pick me up. I asked why he didn’t have the radio on like he usually does. “I was listening to the cricket,” he said. Cricket?

It seems that P. had transported a lawn mower in the back of the van a few days earlier. “I guess he hitched a ride in and just never left,” my husband told me. “But it’s ok. I kind of like the chirping sounds.”

Days have passed and the cricket is still there, hidden somewhere underneath the driver’s seat. Every time I get in the car he’s there. While I’m alone, or during a lull in conversation with the kids: chirp, chirp, chirp.

Today as I drove along listening to him, I realized that his chirping is a pretty nice sound. It reminds me of summer nights, starry skies, evening breezes. It sounds like quiet spaces, peaceful moments, perhaps camping or being in the park after sunset.

That sound–even if the car is not where you would expect to find it–is relaxing. It takes my mind off the hot city streets and makes me feel a little less tense. That is welcome as our family gears up for a new school year and the pace of life picks up.

I don’t know how long our little cricket friend will stay with us–surely he’ll get hungry before long–but I am going to enjoy him while it lasts. Sounds can have a powerful effect on how we feel, and his sound makes me feel good.

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2 Responses to The unexpected gift of a critter in the car

  1. Give a few more days and that cricket will drive you mad! We’ve got one in the basement of our house and he’s been down there for two weeks. I’ve yet to find him.

    I had a mouse in my car once too. It built a nest of paper towels under the exhaust manifold in my engine. It was the first time my Dad had ever seen that one.

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