WELCOME TO OUR BANKED FIRE ISSUE
As always, preparing the theme and graphics for the issue has been a fascinating excursion to the far corners of Web. Fire is one of our oldest technologies—300,000 years ago, before we were even modern humans, H.erectus had learned it —and until recently the practice of managing it was common to all of us the world over. Before matches and butane lighters, it was important—you covered the coals with ashes or cinders to keep so that it would burn low through the night and could be readily kindled in the morning. Thus banked, it provided a reservoir of heat for overnight cooking of beans, tough cuts of meat etc., anything that required a long, slow simmering. From the practice in Medieval European cities of placing a fireproof metal cover over their hearths, "cover fire" also became "curfew", the evening bell signaling townsfolk that they should be home for the night.
Hence the theme of this issue: not only preserving the embers of a heating and cooking fire, but also comfort food, family, home and memory—the things that keep us inwardly warm during the winter. This is our annual issue in which black and white, reduced saturation and monochrome color schemes dominate. Haiga have been chosen, and encouraged, with that in mind, but as always, we're less interested in conforming to theme than in bringing you the best and most interesting haiga we can. I'm truly excited about some of the treasures we have for you in this issue.
Please linger by the fire, and on behalf of all of us here at Haigaonline, Happy Solstice.