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I wrote previously about the Photographer’s adventure with his faithful truck, which, unfortunately, was totaled after 2 months of sitting in the body shop disassembled. As he was about to start school to learn collision repair skills anyway, he bought the truck back, asked the body shop to make it drivable, and started thinking about how to finish the repairs himself. The folks at the shop did a great job, given the circumstances; the new door is pretty much the same color, and the driver’s side is dent-free and mostly just in need of paint.

I also wrote before about Conn-Eda and the Shaggy Horse he rides, which turns out to be a magical horse that can take him through fire and water. Recently, I read about the Táltos Horse of Hungarian folk tales, ugly or odd horses chosen by the táltos, shaman-like figures who were often born with six fingers on one hand, or some other physical oddity. The táltos could see the hidden power in the horse, which ate hot cinders and was capable of flight, though it had no wings.

The point is that in order to venture into previously untravelled territory, sometimes we need a shaggy horse, something different, deformed or damaged, because it’s a carrier of particular knowledge and power. That’s a story we don’t get to hear too often in a youth-and-perfection focused culture. The shaggy horse wears difference and deformity plainly. Riding the shaggy horse requires us to do the same, to stand firmly in our own difference, claim the power that comes from that place, and let its knowledge take us where we need to go.