A mysterious woman in black walks slowly through a snowy cemetery. She pauses briefly by a certain grave, spending a few moments in quiet reflection, and then leaves as quickly as she appeared.

It sounds like a scene written for a movie, but Minneapolis Star Tribune photographer David Joles watched it happen before his eyes last weekend - and took a photo that's taken the Internet by storm.

"I was just kind of mesmerized," Joles said in a Star Tribune video. "She wasn't there very long and then next thing I knew she'd started to leave. I was kind of stunned by what I'd seen."

Joles had just left work in the midst of a heavy snowfall and decided to stop by Fort Snelling National Cemetery, which he thought would be beautiful, tranquil - and empty.

"I just wasn't expecting anyone out there on this snowy day," Joles told Yahoo News. "It's not the type of day you'd choose to go and visit someone in the cemetery."

He was snapping photos of the long rows of white tombstones protruding from the white, snowy ground when she appeared in his frame, having climbed from a vehicle he never even noticed.

"The next thing I knew, she got into the car and drove away and it was over," he told Yahoo News. "I was looking at the images on my camera and realized, 'This is a pretty interesting photograph.'"

The photo was posted to the Star Tribune's Facebook page, where it generatedmore than 10,000 reactions and comments from readers - many of whom thought the mystery only added to the image.

"I think it should be left to wonder," Theresa Cox commented. "This picture encaptures so much. Maybe she was visiting someone on their birthday, maybe it was the anniversary of the day they left, maybe she had some sad or happy news to share."

"No need for a story here," said Gail Wilson. "This is one of those times when the photo speaks for itself."

Joles said in the video he's honored to have taken the photo and loves that the photograph has gotten people talking and unified.

"It's kind of overwhelming in a way," Joles said of all the attention.

As for the mystery woman, Joles still doesn't know who she is - and like many on Facebook, he's not sure he wants to.

"I think maybe, if it's meant to be, we'll find each other," he told Yahoo News. "It would be kind of cool to know who that person is [and] to know their story."

But in her anonymity, she represents everybody, he says.

"Even though you can't tell who that woman's identity is, people see different people in that, they see their own loved ones."

"Normally, I think my instinct as a journalist would be to quickly go over to her and identify myself, ask her name and find out why she was in the cemetery on such a snowy day," he says in the Star Tribune video. "But I didn't do it."



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