Musing about how best to observe 2013

The United Nations was formed in 1945 at the end of the Second World War with the participation of 51 countries.
In 2011, there were 193 members with the addition of The Republic of South Sudan.
Peace is the UN’s main objective but fostering friendly co-operation between countries, considering the plight of those burdened with poverty and possible solutions thereof, as well as to be a centre to create actions that achieve their goals are all part of the UN’s mandate.
I like to think the United Nations is a symbol of a global effort to do things right. That doesn’t mean we get it right, but it means we try.
The UN began making international observances in 1959, declaring that year to be the Year of the World Refugee. They’ve focused the light on many areas we should be aware of: peace, literacy, shelter for the homeless, the family, tolerance, to name just a few.
Last year was the Year of the Co-operative, for instance, and 2013 is the Year of Quinoa—a food I miserably pronounced for more than a year before discovering it was actually keen-wah (I’m a slow learner, it seems).
Why quinoa? It’s an edible seed related to the beet and spinach and tumbleweed. It is not a grain, though it is grain-like.
Here’s what I like best about this amazing plant. It grows best in poor soil, though the soil must be well-drained; it usually is harvested by hand because of the nature and timing of the seeds maturing; and most of the world’s supply of quinoa is grown in Bolivia at 12,000 feet above sea level.
My response? Wow!
I like that this seed makes us do things slower, more carefully, with more thought. I like that it grows in areas that have little opportunity to outshine the rest of the us with our super factory farms and tractors the size of the space shuttle and equipment that can cultivate an entire field in one pass.
Okay, I exaggerate, but you catch my meaning, I’m sure (at least I hope you do).
This seed crop originated in Ecuador, Bolivia, Colombia, and Peru about 3,000 or 4,000 years ago. I know that’s quite the range, but I even found claims that it had been cultivated 6,000 years ago. Suffice to say, it is an old plant.
Quinoa was the sacred crop of the Inca, and the emperor would use a tool made of gold for the year’s first planting. It was referred to as Mother Grain.
Despite its renown with the Inca, the Spanish colonists immediately dismissed the plant during the Spanish conquest of South America. Quinoa became a forbidden crop due to its use in ceremonies that were not of a Christian nature and it was replaced with wheat.
The introduction of wheat, and the loss of traditional tribal ways, caused quinoa to fall in importance and it became a food that merely sustained poor rural families in the Andean nations.
This little seed is high in protein, outranking grains, and it is considered a complete protein. Even better, it is gluten-free. Quinoa is nearly a perfect food, so much so that NASA is considering it for future manned spaceflights.
I’m happy with the 2013 UN observance. I shall give quinoa more of my attention, though I’ve been making quinoa porridge for some time now—a fact that made me fluff my feathers as though beating the UN to the punch suddenly made me smarter.
But it got me thinking of my own observance. 2012 was Wendi’s Year of the Pup. Gracie. You remember her. Thank goodness it is now 2013 (I’ll say no more on that subject).
I’ve got some options for 2013. I think the Year of the Chocolate would be counter-productive in my quest for better health, though there are some that claim dark chocolate has measurable health benefits.
2013 could be the Year of De-Cluttering because I did go at my closet and purged with ruthless determination the other day, but it doesn’t have the staying power I’m looking for.
I do plan to finish my novel this year, but that won’t take me all of 2013.
I’ll have to give this further study. The Year of the Nap? That would work nicely right about now.
wendistewart@live.ca

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