The country side was alive with life and the birds were flying over head and the breeze blew softly on this summer day.
In the distance a thundering sound was heard to the lone rider and he smiled. After three days, finally maybe he’d found him and his mares.
His horse under him shifted nervously and the rider, reached down to his neck, Whoa, boy, It’s just Santana and his mares.
And as if on cue, Santana and his brood, came over the rise in front of him and came thundering past him. The horse he remembered well in the lead, Santana, roared past him larger than life and snorted as he recognized the familiar human smell.
This one seemed more familiar than the rest and as he eyeballed the horse and rider as he roared past them, turning the mares into the wind and over the next rise.
Walker spurred his horse and followed at a distance, but keeping the group insight.
He smiled to himself and was glad he’d been able to finally find him and the mares. It was his last couple of vacation days and he was beginning to think he wouldn’t find them.
As he followed the bunch for miles and they crossed a swollen river Santana turned towards the horse and rider and trumpeted a challenge, or was it a warning? Rearing up on his hind feet he made an awesome spectacle.  Pawing in the air and his neck extended and his tail blowing in the wind, Walker whistled and the horse whinnied and came down on all fours, ears pricked to the sound and man facing beast, master facing Horse, Friend facing friend.  Santana whinnied and tossed his head and pawed at the earth, this human was familiar and as he looked at Walker, Pranced and spun away, Walker smiled, “still the stubborn one!!!!”
That’s O.K. thought Walker, I like a good challenge.
Setting up camp for the day and looking around at the hillside and listening to the sounds around him. Walker felt one with the earth the sky and air about him. To be able to feel mother earth, as his ancestors, to become one with mother nature.
Throwing out his bedroll and setting up a tent, starting coffee and listening to the babbling of the stream beside him and the jumping of the fish in it as he set out his fishing lines. The evening set in and Walker caught a few fish, started them cooking on the fire and waited, knowing that the light and curiosity would get the best of Santana and he would come.
The campfire light was fading and Walker started to get sleepy, watching the fire he soon felt his eyes close and darkness came over him.

As Walker had sat at the fire, Santana had indeed been not far away, and had remembered the scent of this human, why he hadn’t chased him and ridden him like last time, and as he stood close to the fire and slowly eased his way over to the sleeping human, his head low and sniffing. Walker slept on and didn’t know when Santana reached him, snorting and sniffing at him, in curiosity.
But Walker wasn’t asleep and as he felt the horse come to him slowly he opened his eyes, Santana sensed the change and backed up a few steps, slowly Walker sat up with Santana Eyeballing him, Walker called to him softly in the language of the Cherokee that he’d taught him as he’s trained him when he rode him. Softly and soothingly, Santana quivered and snorted but stayed put as this man stood and reaching for his face he felt the man’s hands caress him.
Listening heard the words spoken to him in the old language. Felt the bond between beast and master. Walker, smiled and reached up higher on Santana for the mane, soothingly he patted him and talked to him, of the times he’s thought of him and what a great horse he was.  How much he was glad to see him and that he’d come to him of his own free will.

Holding this great horses head in his hands and patting his neck. Felt his power and strength but felt no fear of this big horse.
Walker thought of all the great horses in history, and for the common cowboy and how important they had been to their work and existence.  How having them had made their work easier and traveling a joy.
The big horse turned, pricked his ears and hearing something that Walker didn’t tossed his big head and trotted away from Walker.
Then picked up speed and galloped away.
Walker watched him go and smiled to himself.
Lying back down Walker looked at the fire and soon was back to sleep.

******** Santana part 2 ******

In the depths of a deep sleep, the dreams came to him. Through the swirling mists of time, his ancestors gathered around the ceremonial fires - speaking of the One to come - who would be the link cross time. The culture of the Ancients would not die... for One still walked the earth - tuned to the soul and pulse of Mother Earth and the Great Spirit. This One would be capable of surviving the onslaught of White Man's ways - equipped with the wisdom of the ancestors and the ability to live in a new world. Able to commune with the animal spirits and tame the violent hearts of men - from his loins would grow a hardy new tribe. Merging his powerful Cherokee Warrior Spirit with the equally enduring, compassionate, feminine wisdom of the White world, the passion in their union would breathe new life to the Cherokee nation.
He would inspire men and women to strive for excellence and justice. He would train his kin in the way of the Warrior and the Peacemaker. The Great Spirit would again rejoice in harmony with His creation. For the first time in a long time, there was hope in the air, swirling with the winds of this Council Fire.

Walker awoke uncommonly refreshed from his rest. A faint scent reminiscent of sweet grass and smoke registered to acutely aware senses, yet he didn't recall adding sweet grass to his campfire last night. The imprints of Santana's unshod hooves remained visible in the new morning light confirming the reality of last night's visit. Other indistinct marks caught his eye, triggering a blurry recollection of something else the night before, something comforting and affirming, but it remained on the edge of conscious thought. He smiled in the memory of Santana's breath upon his face and the velvet touch of the massive head in his hands.
Stretching, he rose from the warmth of his bedroll invigorated by the comparatively crisp caresses of the morning breeze. He was acutely aware of life this morning and...


Unbidden, her image coalesced in his mind, superimposed on the vision of Santana rearing in the air to defend his mares. A primal urge as ancient as time itself quickened his pulse as he realized the wild untamed spirit within him had drawn him to her, as surely as that which called Santana to him. The passion which overwhelmed him, dropped him to his knees as he protectively curled into himself.

Santana had his mate and his community...

The carefree journey begun a few days before in the waning days of his vacation, suddenly revealed that his life, as it had been, was incomplete. In an insight of uncommon clarity, he realized that the Great Spirit had summoned him to the wilderness, to free his mind and spirit to learn a new truth about himself. Images from an incomprehensible dream the night before, flashed through his conscious mind.

He was to embark on a new path.

That path like Santana's was with his lady and no matter what the cost or the trials tossed in their way, theirs was a destiny as old as time and as Walker looked about this beautiful valley, he knew that Santana was safe here and happy, as last nights dreams came back to him, and he heard the words of the great spirit, in an old Indian Cherokee wedding,
"Walk life's path together as mates and friends, be together, let nothing or no one come between what it is that you have together.
Be unafraid to share everything together, for that is the way of every good marriage,
Walker remembered looking at Alex in the dreams, and seeing her somewhere in the future, happy and bearing their child, her look of love in her eyes for only him, running together in the tall grass, and visions of her beneath him, running her hands through his hair and calling his name as their bodies were joined in harmony and union of two hearts and bodies.
The dream faded from view, but the feelings lasted, time to get moving, turning towards his horse he readied himself for the journey to come, his heart singing and his mind and spirit renewed.
Mentally thanking the great spirit for all that was revealed to him here.
And as if on cue, Santana trumpeted, rearing up and once again on the mountain in front of him. Walker smiled,
"Be safe old boy, I'll be back one day," and mounting his own horse he rode toward the future and his and Alex's happiness.