This morning the droning of bulldozers once again shattered the quiet of our semi-rural neighborhood. Our home is adjacent to two empty lots beyond the city limits, remote to  avoid the burgeoning tracts of houses sprouting up to the east and west of town.

Six months after our purchase, new houses began erupting around us at an alarming rate. So much for trusting realtors. The bulldozers began clearing the chaparral scrub right behind us two months ago. I was devastated. From the sunroom, I witnessed the dozers caroming about, belching black smoke and stirring up clouds of opaque dust that left my skin feeling gritty.

Later, as I watered a new segment of my rock garden, one of the drivers had the audacity to wave at me. Reflexively I waved back and spent the next three hours wondering if his next act of friendliness would include leaping over the back wall and dragging me off to spend the afternoon riding shotgun on his dozer. Since then, the bulldozers return at irregular intervals, roaming the lots behind us for few days only to disappear for a week or two.

Despite their ritual, the lots look much the as they did after their first day of development, as if the bulldozers were rehearsing for some more sinister task. Resigned to their presence, I ignored them today, until I encountered the Waver at an intersection silted up by yesterday’s rain. He scooped up sand and delicately deposited it onto a remote mound. I watched in puzzlement, since the intersection is far removed from their work site.

Maneuvering his machine, he noticed me, and gave me one of the goofiest, most sincere smiles I have ever seen. He backed up and motioned for me to proceed. I waved back mechanically, a bit stupefied by the situation until I grasped the altruism of his actions. Although I cannot embrace the idea of bulldozers happily clearing the land for smiling people who will love their new home as much as we do, I will return greetings to the Waver with genuine sincerity.

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