Within hours of the beginning of the snowstorm on Sunday, I was half sitting, half lying on a large piece of cardboard at the top of a slope in Rock Creek Park. I repeatedly hurled my forty-something self down the hill on anything available -- cardboard, a borrowed sled, a plastic fast-food tray. Even though I know that sledding results in many emergency-room visits each year, I couldn't get enough of the thrill -- and the feeling of absolute safety.

Along with many people in the District, I have been living with an uneasy sense that at any moment, daily life could be thrown into chaos. My tidy townhouse might vanish in an instant, or I could be forced to flee, my job at a nonprofit group suddenly rendered meaningless. The sense of unease spiraled upward again in the last week with talk of safe rooms and "go bags."

So when an emergency did arrive, I responded with the delight of a child -- to a thick, soft blanket of white.

Yes, for some, the storm meant real danger and inconvenience. But for me, the snow emergency delivered a gift: a sense of safety.

BARBARA McCANN

Washington

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Finally the other shoe dropped and we got the terrorist activity the administration had warned us about. The terrorist was a surprise, however -- Mother Nature, who let us know we had the color wrong.

It wasn't orange, it was white. And lots of it.

WILLIAM P. RISSO

Great Falls