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Raymond Castel


Thinking about life sometimes requires a bit of time and patience.  I would have tell you my name, homes I lived in, my favourite places, my likes and dislikes, my family, my worst day, and why Iím special. My name is Raymond and I currently live in Pukatawagan.  I lived in The Pas to attend school, and in Sandy Bay, Saskatchewan with my aunt for awhile. I enjoy nature trails because they are both quiet and peaceful.  Bars, lounges are fair places to sit around and arcades, fairs are entertaining if
you carry money. Art and long distance running are what I like to do.  Both require plenty of concentration and patience.  Science fiction programs are interesting, because they stir imagination. Anyone being disobedient to others fills me with confusion and anger. Having a feeling of disgust helps me wonder how can this person be so disrespectful?  Any noise from violence in large amounts is unhealthy, because too much can cause stress and eventually anyone can lose their minds.

We all have family.  As for me, I have five brothers and one sister.  I have a strong mother, who I believe, cares about the future of her children and a father who is alive and doing well. I have had two very bad experiences in life.  One of them was coming home for the Christmas holidays in 1994.  I arrived by train at mile 99, when I got off and got my stuff together, there was no one left to give me a ride. So there I was getting cold and waiting for a ride in a dark place in the middle of winter. The second experience had something to do with school as well.  I arrived to start school after the summer holidays in 1996, but I had my doubts about my academic performance during the year before.  In my mind I knew I did not do well in my studies.  I was to see the coordinator and he knowing full well about my previous performance.  I was sure he would tell me that I couldnít continue.  Instead, he aske me to wait and I waited all morning, but the thought of not able to continue grew.  Until I made up my mind and decided to leave.  As a result, I left because I was feeling down and had low self-esteem. I donít always see myself as special, but I do see everyone else special. We are all special because we all eventually learn from our mistakes and eventually have an understanding for one another. Now you know that my birthday is on February, I like places that are both peaceful and entertaining.  I like science fiction and I donít like disobedience.  I have a good family who cares for one another.  Being stranded and giving up were my worst days in life.  In conclusion, I would like to say that we should all be patient and have an understanding for one another.


Dear Grandson,
Iím writing to let you know that life here has been fair. Our neighborís here have been so helpful; your grandma canít thank them enough.  Iím sure that we have helped them in tough times as well. It is spring now and the waterfowl are coming back in great numbers.  Your grandma is sure that the fall hunting will be plentiful for all of us here. Fishing has been a little tough and tiresome for grandma and me, but we all pulled through. At nights near the campfire, our neighbors would come and visit.  We would tell stories and sing a few of our traditional songs.  Sometimes sitting around in front of the fire and looking at the stars would be enough. I hope that you can come and visit us here.  We will have so much fun together if you do.  For example, we could go snare rabbits or go hunting moose.  I could teach you all of our songs or make up new ones with your knowledge of the outside world.  You could also learn from your grandma with her vast knowledge on traditional medicine. If for some reason you canít make it.  Just keep in mind, never give up on your dreams.  What I mean is, never stop learning and never slow down in your studies. If you ever hear negative things about you, donít allow it to discourage you.  Instead, fight it with your entire mind and spirit.  Donít forget that your grandma and I care deeply for you and hope that you will make your family very proud.

Sincerely Yours
Grandpa and Grandma


 As a newcomer to a northern community in Manitoba, I have to say that this  is a new experience for me.  Though I have been to other places and seen  many people, I have not been to or seen a place like this before.  It took forever to reach this northern community by train.  First of all, the train station is not located where the community is.  Instead the train station is at a place called mile 99.  When I got off, I was surprised to see a row of vehicles and a whole bunch of people rushing to retrieve their
 belongings. At this point I began to get a little concerned, who is supposed to come  and meet me?  To my relief, someone did come to meet me and showed me where his vehicle was and asked me if I needed help with my things.  The road to town at times seems dusty, bumpy and steep.  That trip was shorter than the train ride and a lot more comfortable.   Itís nice see tall trees on the side of the road, I can almost see myself going back to summer camp as a child. Once I settled down in the place I was going to stay for the time being, I  took a look outside and saw nothing but houses and a dirt road.  When I  decided to go for a walk, I saw dogs roaming around the community without leashes.  I sense that people around here get around just by walking.  Luckily, I have a good pair of shoes to keep my feet safe.


 I like to think that Iím competing with nature, and it is not my intention  to go out of my way to destroy creation.  I go out there to feel and think how long I could last.  Take running for example, I could jog on any path where obstacles fills me with a certain kind of fear.  Such obstacles are fallen trees, tree stumps, steep hills, or rough winds.  Though these obstacles are natural, they will always help me pay attention to my surroundings.


 I remember riding a kayak down some white-water.  Before heading off, I carefully listened to what the instructor had to say.  First, Iíve never been on a kayak or on white-water.  Therefore, I carefully followed while thinking to myself, "donít tip, go where the instructor goes."  At that moment, my mind was clear and I was totally focussed.  I was relieved when we reached the end, I thought that was a unique trip.  I never again had the chance of being on a kayak since then.  Though I like the idea of owning a kayak and going down some white-water on my own someday.


Places that Iíll see and experience in a city will be tall buildings, nightclubs, stores, malls, schools, and streets covered with pavement.  Therefore, Iíll be able to meet and talk to all kinds of ethnic groups of  people.  There will be a lot of single women available, new movies, theatre, and live bands playing. If I leave the community, I will be far from my family and friends.  As a  result, I wonít be on the same trails I know of or see the familiar sights and sounds of the community.  I will not be able to go running on my favourite trails with the family dog. In conclusion, things eventually change and that includes people.  There could be no future in this community if I stay and I would have to go find one somewhere else.  I will make that sacrifice to find that a future. Perhaps if given enough time and patience, I could bring the future I find back home with me to share with the community.

Sleeping Under Moonlight by Raymond Castel


 To me, life on the Northern Reserve in forty years should be both peaceful and hopeful.  The young people would have finally matured, having respect and understanding for one another.  People will listen to their elders and should have a diploma.  In the end, everyone will have a home and a healthy family relationship.


My best three characteristics are: Iím quiet, I listen and I can wash  dishes.  My worst three characteristics are: Iím too quiet, I think too much and I hardly go anywhere.  A healthy family relationship is significant in my life, because it helps me appreciate life and to be satisfied with what I have.  I am glad I did not lose my mind during the last few years.  My goals and ambitions are to have a good education, a good job, a big house, a  loving wife and kids.

I have a trail I walk on and it allows my imagination to roam free. First, this trail is both quiet and peaceful.  Therefore, I am able to imagine and walk undisturbed.  Second, I can hear the birds sing, the wind blow on the treetops and when I reach the end of the trail.  My mind is slowly lowered back into reality and I would feel refreshed, I always enjoy my walks every time.

All Artwork Copyright 2002 ~ Raymond Castel

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Bill and Sue-On Hillman Eclectic Studio