I’ve returned to Minnesota just in time for the best part of my favorite season. There’s something in autumn that only the coldest of hearts refuses to embrace. Autumn is fire—in the trees, in the shrubs and bushes, in the sunrises and the sunsets. Autumn is the lovely blanket we wrap ourselves in as we prepare for the winter we know is coming.

I went biking this weekend. The trail I’d carefully chosen turned out to be closed due to construction. I was miffed but decided that rather than give up on the ride, I would take a leisurely route through a nearby cemetery. The moment I entered the gates, my mood changed. My irritation dissolved. Within minutes, I came across a fawn nibbling among the shadows on a hillock. Later, I stopped to watch a flock of Canada geese gathered in a cemetery meadow, resting in their long flight south. The trees were aflame, the air warm, the cemetery a great acreage of peace.

I glided down the lanes, among headstones and monuments, reminders that our time on this beautiful planet is limited and precious and that we have so much for which to be grateful. And I was reminded, too, that even in the midst of death there is glorious life.

The path I planned to bike this weekend was closed. But I can’t help believing that the path I ended up following was the one I was meant to find.

William Kent Krueger