There are kinds of human problems which really do seem, as our tidy expressions would have it, to “come to a head” and “demand to be dealt with.” But there are also problems, often just as serious, which come to nothing that we can recognize or openly deal with. Some long-lived, insidious problems simply slip us off to one side of ourselves. Some gently rob us of just enough energy or faith so that days which once took place on a horizontal plane become an endless series of uphill slogs. And some—like high water working year after year at the roots of a riverside tree—quietly undercut our trust or our hope, our sense of place, or of humor, our ability to empathize, or to feel enthused, and we don’t sense impending danger, we don’t feel the damage at all, till one day, to our amazement, we find ourselves crashing to the ground.
David James Duncan, The Brothers K