High on a slopping hill overlooking the sea a couple of blocks up from the Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF) Temple and Ashram Center in Encinitas, a plot of land brings forth the fruits of fall. Pumpkins brighten the coastal scenery and provide a peaceful setting to admire the wonderful crop. The true miracle is seeing the land being used for agriculture. The ocean views make this a prime piece of real estate.
The land is owned by SRF and is used year-round to grow vegetables. It is attended by the monks who live at the temple.
When my children were young, we used to attend the SRF’s annual Halloween festival. Hundreds of intricately carved pumpkins greeted Halloween celebrants on all hallowed night. As we entered the fellowship grounds, a wonderful world of good and evil, make-believe and real-life lessons greeted us. Plays, musical numbers, characters, wish-granting queens and villainous plotters barraged our senses. The festival grew and grew in popularity, until the thousands of people it attracted made it too popular. After 2001, SRF no longer hosted the festival.
The Downtown Encinitas MainStreet Association still hosts its Safe Trick or Treat, where businesses along Highway 101 remain open and provide treats to youngsters in costume. Halloween activities are provided in the Lumberyard and SRF still provides carved pumpkins for Encinitas.
So, although I miss the SRF-hosted Halloween Festival, I am thankful that the monks still own the land and use it to grow these glorious pumpkins.