Road of Life

The road of life is a well known metaphor for good reason.

painting of rural gravel road with blue sky, white clouds

“Roadside Roses”, original painting by Judy Leila Schafers, circa 2009, sold

Much like the rural gravel roads, life in my experience,  is full of twists and turns, ups and downs, a few puddles, ruts and bridges. Roads as a metaphor makes it easy to describe some of our challenges and our ultimate destination because life is a type of journey, a trip through a maze of sorts. Without roads, any journey would be more difficult to navigate.

Wondering and Wandering

Exploring these rather isolated byways on or near the family farm as a child, often lead to fascinating nature discoveries or some sort of rural relic. I remember finding abandoned homesteads, scrap metal graveyards and piles of cool looking rocks. There was often a feeling of wonder, excitement or mystery that came with those discoveries. To find a patch of wild strawberries in the ditch or groups of brightly colored wildflowers along the way always felt like a special gift. Not to mention the joy of cycling to a friend’s house on such a road. 

road of life, painting of muddy road in an autumn grain field

“And So It Begins”, original painting by Judy Leila Schafers, 5″ x 17, circa 2010, sold

Searching for a Masterpiece

There is something meditative about a sojourn down a lonely country road or a peaceful woodland path. The sights, sounds and smells can give one a new perspective and temporarily melt away life’s stresses. As an adult, I regularly take day trips along similar trails and forest pathways shooting copious amounts of digital photographs. Those country paths, well worn or not, often inform my work. I get excited about the thought of finding my next great painting just around the corner. What will I find if I take this route, or should I go the opposite direction instead and what lies on the other side of that hill? How can I possibly see all there is to see? What am I missing? 

road of life, rural gravel road in winter with stormy sky and spruce tree

“Just Over the Hill”, original painting by Judy Leila Schafers, 11″ x 22″, circa 2011, sold

A Tank Full of Gas

These quiet lanes bring me a sense of intrigue and excitement and I seldom worry about getting lost as long as there is enough gas in the tank and hours of daylight. I often neglect to tell my family where to look for me because even I don’t know which area will be explored next. Someday, this might not work out too well.  Being unsure of which road would lead me back home has happened on occasion for short periods of time. A modern day GPS helps!

rural gravel road in autumn at sunset, flanked by dense forest

“When Serendipity Smiles”. original painting by Judy Leila Schafers, 12″ x 20″, available, $650

We All Get a Bit Lost on the Road of Life

Sometimes it feels as though I am lost and I think this is true for everyone at some point. We can’t see over the next hill if we are currently standing in a deep valley. It sometimes feels like we may not find our way. The road has never let me down and eventually, somehow it always brings me home. As long and winding as it might seem, it has earned my trust. I believe it is for these reasons that the less traveled byways find their way into my paintings as a reoccurring theme. As I paint them, I explore them anew and contemplate the journey along the road of life.

“The Road Less Gravelled”, original painting by Judy Leila Schafers, 16″ x 12″ , circa 2010, sold

4 thoughts on “Road of Life

  1. Sylvia Jones

    Your paintings of country roads are stunning. Only you can make mud look wonderful! I grew up in the country and your paintings are a nostalgia trip for me. The metaphor of our lives being like a country road is so true, full of ups and downs, twists and turns and many mud puddles and bridges to cross. There are also the joys of finding wild roses in bloom and beautiful scenes over the next hill. Ah, life!

    1. JudySchafers

      Hello Sylvia, I sure appreciate and enjoy you sharing your experience and the sights that you have added to the list of awesome views along country roads! Thank you for your great comments 🙂 Hope you are having a lovely spring. The weather has been interesting. I hope (as does everyone else) that the fires are brought under control and that the north gets the rain they so desperately need. Take care, be well–Judy

    1. JudySchafers

      You’re too sweet, Julie!! Thank you so much! I hope you are doing alright. Miss you! Hope to see you soon, although now my plate is overflowing…. Take care–Judy


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