It's a tricky question of late.
I answered that I was in the process of reinventing myself.
Aren't we all, he replied.
It's hard, I said, but I am learning to live with less.
Leslie helped carry my basket to the car. Parking was often a dilemma. Leslie had very white teeth with a slight underbite. Despite the hours spent working in the garden there was something rain-washed about him, clean.
There's a word for that, he replied, blinking. He didn't wear sunglasses.
Yes? I encouraged. His face was evenly tanned.
Essentialism, he said.
Essentialism, I nodded, was a good goal in life and writing.
Essentialism asked us to go beyond mere existence to the very essence of things, the inward nature, to find meaning.
It was not fabricated or contrived meaning that rationalized our behavior but true meaning that was waiting for us, if only we were bothered to look.
Like the sweet stain of beets.