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Water is Life: A Symbol of Connection

Spring in New Mexico is marked by the opening of the “acequias” which are a diversion of water from the river into communal canals or as we call it, “the ditch”. Acequias are part of New Mexico’s history and are the result of Spanish colonization over 400 years ago. These irrigation ditches allow families to water their gardens and grow food until late Fall. Acequias run continuously through many towns in the Southwest. Every member who has ‘water rights’ to use the ditch will benefit each year from the abundance nature has to offer.


Water resembles life on so many levels; we are made of mostly water and the food we eat has to have water to grow.

Being able to use water from the acequia is taken very seriously and many disputes in history, referred to as “Water Wars”, have happened. In fact, there are still ongoing legal battles today.


It is a tradition in the Sweet family to open the ditch together every Spring as my father-in-law is the Mayordomo, which means “ditch boss”. We honor the water and all it brings to our community with a little ceremony, offering flowers and words of gratitude, and then open the headgate from the river to allow water to flow into the ditch.


We let the water chase us, clearing out any debris that may be in its path, so it can run smoothly through the canals. Although properties are separated with fences and gates, the water runs in a continuous manner, connecting each residence.


In a time with much uncertainty and when socially distancing has been mandated, the symbolism of unity and abundance was much welcomed.


What other lessons did the water teach us that day? “Going with the flow” is what we are all being challenged to do right now, and water can show us the way. It persists, no matter what is in its path, maybe just going a bit slower at times until it can get back on track.


I urge you to find something right now in your life that allows you to still feel connected to others and expands your heart with abundance. Maybe nature has the answer for you too?



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