If you've been Moseyin' Along with me for a while, you know our little family of three recently downsized from our ground-level home of the past 15 years to a fourth-floor condo in a lovely complex called Fountain Court.
Today, as I sit here at my desk, chatting with you, the scene outside the patio doors and across our lanai is one of wind and rain. Down below, the pavement is being lashed with wave after wave of a tropical shower. And, the massive Royal palms that frame my view are tossing their fronds as the gusts blow through.
All in all, it's a good day for being inside, for relaxing in my cozy sanctuary, my retreat, my cocoon.
And from what I've been reading, cocooning is a growing focus of many folks these days. According to those who keep track of such changing interests, it's no longer enough for your home to be your castle. Now, it needs to be a sanctuary, too.
With all the mayhem and chaos in the news every day, the idea of establishing a safe haven is a growing trend.
One expert on the subject said, "I think as the threats get larger, the need for a safe place gets stronger."
Since our recent move, I've been thinking more about the roles a home plays in the changing stages of the family through the years. At this retirement point in our own lives, the idea of a safe place is certainly a major incentive.
But, looking back to our first home, when we were getting established as Mr. and Mrs., our initial dwelling served merely as a base of operations. It was the place we returned to each night to re-group and rest before scurrying out into the world again the next day.
A few years later, when we started our family, our home became, for a time, the center of the universe. All the activities, events, joys and sorrows of our family of five took place within those four walls. The outside world was where George went daily to earn the family's living. Otherwise, we ventured out for supplies and such, but everything important happened at home.
In only a short time, when the kids entered school, the entire picture changed. The house became a launching pad. There was a steady banging of the door as one or more reported in, gathered the necessary equipment, food, clothing or whatever for the next activity in their lives, then left.
When the youngsters grew into adults and established their own homes, our family of three - George, myself and son Tim - developed a comfortable lifestyle of comings and goings that kept us busy, but always brought us together at night.
These days, however, the picture has changed once again. Now that we've happily relocated to our fourth-floor nest, the idea of a sanctuary feels like the ideal definition of "home."
Apparently, many others are viewing their homes as places of retreat, of escape. Statistics show the concept of cocooning has a growing following.
Among our friends, several families have invested heavily in such retreat enhancements as media rooms, home gyms and gourmet kitchens.
One mother told me that with all she reads in the news about youngsters getting into trouble, she encourages her kids to bring their friends over for TV, games or just hanging out. The payoff is that she knows where they are and that they're safe.
But, even for families like ours, with no kids to entertain, nothing beats just spending time together in the comfort of this, our favorite place.
So on this rainy afternoon, with Mother Nature drenching the outside world, my little fourth-floor cocoon is right where I want to be.