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Drones Over Suburbia: Solar Flare


On June 10th 2025 at 5:50pm there was what was widely understood later to be a "minor solar flare". It was the briefest of interruptions and most people hadn't even noticed. But what happened that evening on a quiet cul-de-sac in suburban Toronto was, by all accounts, really quite remarkable.

As she had done every evening for years Marie opened her front door to collect her dinner. It was just before 6pm.  And just as often she looked up and took in the activity overhead.  It was the busiest time of day in the skies. She marveled at the aeronautic manoeverings of hundreds of drones as they went about the business of their deliveries. "Like a ballet" she thought heading back inside to settle in for the evening with the latest series on CraveTV. It took only a moment for her to realize something was wrong with her order. This had never happened before.


At about the same time, Hector, who lived two doors from Marie, was standing on his front porch holding an insulated food container, perplexed. "I didn't order this," he said to himself.  Glancing up, he caught sight of his next-door neighbour who had moved in a few years ago and whose name he couldn't recall. She was looking up at the sky clutching an open bag.  One by one neighbours appeared at their doors, bewildered expressions on their faces.


The frozen moment of confusion was broken when Gary, who lived at #7, yelled out. "Hey, help me haul a table out of my garage." And just as spontaneously neighbours who hadn't conversed in years, or for that matter, rarely even saw one another sprang into action.  The large table, dusted off, was set up in the middle of the cul-de-sac. A mishmash of kitchen chairs, cups and cutlery appeared.  Someone brought candles, wine was uncorked.  Plates were passed around and everyone sampled the quirky variety of foods spread out before them. Priya's paneer tikka and methi corn were a hit. There was lamb biryani, vegetable pad thai, veggie roti, lasagne and caesar salad.  Everyone loved Winston's plantain chips and jerk chicken.  Lively banter and good cheer filled the air.


And so it was that on a pleasant early summer evening a small group of neighbours reconnected over a most unexpected and unusual dinner while hundreds of drones danced in the sky above.

(To view the art that accompanies this story, click here.

Text, images, video © 2020 Anne Winter. All rights reserved.

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