As mayordomo you become the pump, the heart that moves the vital fluid down the artery to the little plots of land of each of the cells, the parciantes. Water relationships would be simple and linear were they not complicated by all those other ways that human beings are connected with and divided from each other: blood, race, religion, education, politics, money.
Against human constrictions and
diversions the mayordomo must pump water seven months of the year.
You can even come to envy those who work far away from here in
institutions which deal with human beings piecemeal, one category
at a time, and have thus managed to subordinate or exclude concerns
peripheral to their specialized central purpose or to consign them
to some vague world out beyond the parking lot.
A mayordomo has to deal with people whole, often angry, in their
own backyards, on their own property, regarding a commonplace
substance that can inspire passion like no other, with all
connections everywhere firmly in place, including who beat up on
who 20 years before in the village schoolyard.
Water. The crew straggles back through the newly pruned apple
trees, across the thick brown orchard grass, and climbs up the
ditch bank, wiping away the last traces of water from their mouths
with sleeves and wrists.
Mayordomo: Chronicle of an Acequia in
Northern New Mexico
Reprinted by permission of University of New Mexico Press,