Gandalf, as a young child,
was always getting into the cupboards.
He was the one most likely to be found up a tree
or stuck in a bramble patch,
or curled asleep next to the neighbor’s cow hours after dark.
He told stories of his own devising to the birds,
who would listen long after his brothers and sisters and cousins
and neighbors and parents and passing strangers
had lost patience with him.
He asked why, and how many, and how long, and where, and who, and what next.
Always, always, what next? What else? What if?
His mother taught him to read out of desperation,
and finally she got some peace, and her cupboards and larder went undisturbed.
Now, Gandalf is an old man.
His questions led to sore feet, sleeping wet, going hungry.
He read books that tried to read him.
He got some answers, and found that answers lead to more questions, always.
There is always a what next? What else? What if?
He misses, sometimes, telling stories
instead of being part of one or another.
Tomorrow, he will seek out a bird. Perhaps an owlet.
Tomorrow will be time to begin again.
Tonight is for dreaming.