Walter Mencken 9:23 a.m., Oct. 10
- Community Blog
- Surfing the 101 in Old Encinitas
Old Encinitas: The Second Face of Encinitas
Surfing Madonna Chick
Usually, I wait to catch the top of the wave that will green light us past Encenitas Blvd. into Old Encinitas. We wait at the top of the hill. The signal below turns green and GT and I go for it. If we can catch it going fast enough, momentum will carry us up the hill past D Street into the 7-11 for a big gulp and dog. But today, GT and I decide to check out the Surfing Madona chick, before they blow her up or injure her in the process of moving. It is at the Highway 5 underpass and Encinitas Blvd. Apparently, she moved into her present home in full daylight assisted by orange dressed construction workers, who were mistaken for city workers. Thousands of cars must have passed that day. The Surfing Madonna chick turned out to be the 10 foot by 10 foot surfing Virgin of Guadalupe.
GT (swooning): Wow! There she is. She is beautiful. I look into her eyes and feel inner peace and love. I feel more religious that I have ever felt in my life. She looks alive, beaming energy and a true sacred surfer. The words coming down her right side urge us to “Save the Ocean.” Do those words offend anyone? If I were to label her, I would call her non-ego community art.
Dr. Bill: The Encinitas City Counsel is an embarrassment. They voted unanimously to provide a $2,000 to investigate how to remove one of the best artworks in a public setting on our coast. Now they have found that she can not be exited from her home without destruction. Why not start with the preservation of our Madonna? She was a gift to the community and downtown guys want to kidnap her? I wonder if they had a building permit for the Coliseum, Stonehenge or the White House?
GT: Those who get a worm up their nose over the religious connotations of this artwork, should blow their nose and breathe in a fresh spirit. This outside art piece will soon become a classic, if allowed to remain.
Dr. Bill: What can we do to keep her? You could make a spirited appeal to the City Council.
GT: Oh, City Fathers and Mothers, react with compassion and allow this lady of many thousand glass tiles to live in the home in which she was raised. Please don’t deflower our Virgin of Guadalupe. This is people’s art. She was created for us. We are the people. We need to rise from the ashes like Phoenix. If they want to send our beautiful Surfing Virgin to a foster home, let them arrest us and drag us off. I will be the first in line in our non-violent protest. To take her away, violates my religious freedom. Let’s make her The First Non-denominational Church of the Surf. I beg you to allow our Virgin to surf these shores and claim her birthplace as her home.
Breaking Headline North County Time: Friday, June 10, 2011 Mark Patterson Claims Rogue Art Piece Mark Patterson is a long time Leucadia resident. Finally, he has publically claimed to be the artist of this treasure. Mark said that he felt driven to do a surfing Virgin of Guadalupe and went to Italy to study mosaics. The virgin’s face was completed in Italy. He quit his software job in order to work full time on the piece. It took him nine month to complete her. Marks message was to present the idea of protecting the ocean with a potent image.
GT: Your Virgin has had a role on the world stage. Mark
Dr. Bill: I can’t wait for the next chapter. Thank you, Mark.
Next Chapter: The Coast News, June 17, 2011 Surfing Madonna Purchase Weighted
They plan to publically display her on private property near the ocean at Solana Beach. Woods stated, Solana Beach would welcome it. Yea, let’s give our Virgin of Guadalupe to Solana Beach.
Next Chapter: North County Times, June 22, 2011 Mosaic Artist to remove piece
It took 9 months to construct her and two hours to deflower our Virgin. All that is left are screw holes, glue and a few scratches. Can you believe our city considers this superior to our beautiful Virgin? Mark Patterson’s art show earned him a $500 fine, $2,000 city expenses and responsibilities for removing his art work. My, how the city of Encinitas encourages creative works. Glad we moved to Oceanside.
The Second Face of Encinitas: The Old Encinitas Personality
Dr. Bill: I know that you’re eager to give us a history lesson.
GT: You and history are my two passions. Jabez Pitcher, considered the father of Encinitas, bought 160 acres near the railroad track around the present location of the Encinitas Civic center in 1881. He never regretted that purchase.
Old Encinitas began is 1881 when the Southern California railroad built a water tower by the tracks to supply their steam engines with water from Cottonwood Creak. With no Laundromats and without running water or electricity, the women would wash clothes communally at Cottonwood Creek, drape their wet clothing on bushes and picnic at Moonlight Beach while it dried. Moonlight Beach may have derived its name from the round white rocks that glowed like small moons in the moonlight. Another theory is that during prohibition, the Moonlighters used this spot to import illegal booze by boat at night. The school house, built in 1883 to accommodate 8 students, is now the home for the Encinitas Historical Society.
A Star on Moonlight Beach Linda Benson learned to surf when she was 11years old at Moonlight Beach. When one of the guys surfing would lose a board she would paddle it out to them. At 13 years of age, her father allowed her to purchase a beat up old $20.00 board. In 1959, a15 year old Cardiff local, Linda Benson, became the youngest contestant to ever win the International Championship at Makaha . All of her boards are shaped by Donald Takayama since she was 15. Linda talks zen, when she speaks of surfing, For me, it’s self-expression—it’s how I express myself… we use the wave as our canvas and the board as our pen. This is our art… Surfing is a true inner art form of expression. Each wave is different and each one a different painting. Legend has it that she borrowed a board from the shortest guy around and took her five foot frame out to be the first woman to ride Wiamea. In Linda’s words The gender thing didn’t play a big part in it. I was 15 and we lived… on the North Shore…We were all just teenagers… They were calling it 18 feet. We stood on the cliff just watching the waves and kicking the dirt, trying to decide whether to go out or not. There was a small guy… and he let me borrow it(his board). I waited for a lull and my heart was pounding. I didn’t think about whether or not I was going to be the first girl. I just went and did it. As I paddled out, I saw Fred Van Dyke wipeout. He popped up and then two parts of his board popped up beside him. Another set came in and John Severson rode a wave and then he wiped out. He looked at me as I was paddling out and said “You’re crazy.” When I came back in, I remember just stumbling over myself. I was just so happy I had done it and that I was back on land. It was amazing. I never did it again and I never wanted to! She won the U.S. women’s in 1959,1960, 1964 and 1968. Linda was rated number one in 1964 International Surfing magazine reader’s poll. Linda has been inducted into both the Surfing Walk of Fame and the International Hall of Fame. She has another claim to fame as having been Annette Funicello’s surfing double in the Beach Party and Deborah Walley’s double in Gidget Goes Hawaiian. She nails the changes in gender rules over time that she has been a part of creating, When I got in the water the first time I was always chasing after the guys…Now women are a part of the pack. After discontinuing competitive surfing, Linda rechanneled her passion to surfHER, a surf school for women of all abilities and generations to engage in the spirit and camaraderie of surfing. Linda is a special kind of person who has given back to the surfing community and world in general. The world is a slightly better place because of her. What greater honor can any person have?
Encinitas had thrived when 101 was the main road south to San Diego. Then, in the 1960’s came Interstate 5 and visitors were diverted from Old Encinitas. The charming little community was on the verge of drowning.. In 1988, business owners formed a merchant association and designed a plan to breathe new life into Old Encinitas. They applied to California Main Street for a grant to revitalize the downtown area. Their lifesaving efforts paid off. In 2004 Encinitas earned the Great American Main Street Award for resuscitating the downtown area through authentic historic preservation. The city retained its historical identity.
I quickly puff up the small hill to D Street. On my right is my $3.50 dose of frozen ecstasy at Berry Happy. My non-fat vanilla frozen yogurt with a topper of shredded coconut, mango and the tapioca filled with passion fruit juice bits was everything that I fantasized. I do silent meditation as I eat and thank the earth, sun, air, and ocean for their contributions. I thank Tich Nhat Hahn for making me aware of an appreciation of how our food came to be and reflecting about that while eating.
The sugar went straight to my head. With renewed sugar energy, I surge in and out of the two lane streets, avoiding pedestrians and potential pederasts and pedophiles. There is no bike lane in Old Encinitas and cars park diagonally. To exit, cars need to back into traffic. I consider this the most dangerous part of our ride Swami’s is an interesting, not too expensive cafe that everyone should try. The outside breakfast and lunch dining has a young hip feel to it. You can down a shot of wheat grass for a buck. The air reeks with fascinating psychoanalytic tales being told, sophisticated discussion on whether Obama is more warlike than Bush II and what the newest adornments on the Cardiff Kook are. The Acai Fruit Plate with yogurt will knock your socks off. The other night I awoke from a dream of eating their Acai Fruit plate. I awoke without socks.
GT: The Virgin of Guadalupe left me feeling like pursuing a spiritual course. How about taking a few minutes and tour the Self Realization Fellowship and pay due respect to the Swami.
The Self Realization Fellowship
We cruise by and appreciate the sprinkled beauty of brilliant red bougainvillea contrasted with the white pillars and the golden domes of the Self-Realization Fellowship. In contrast to the busy activities outside, as we walked through the arched entrance, serenity converges upon us from all directions. The grounds are artistically groomed to a GT.
GT: Dip your thumb into a pond and leave it there for a few seconds.
Being occasionally obedient, I place my thumb in the water. A 2 foot koi with beautiful markings of gold, orange and black approaches and heads for my finger. I start to withdraw it, but feel a force telling me to relax and ohmmm.
Dr. Bill(delighted): He is sucking on my thumb. It tickles.
GT: That fish might be Paramahansa Yogananda. I think he believed in reincarnation.
There is no sign that says Quiet, but silence and muffled voices prevail. People of various cultures, languages and colors quietly wander in awe. The solemnity and austerity of the setting, leaves us on a spiritual high. The view from the highest point is drop dead beautiful. The setting is based on a philosophy that we can share beauty, honor and love in a generous way and more beauty, honor and love will result. I think this is not true of commodities.
There is another spiritual experience going on below. The waves are choppy and there’s a bit of wind. About 15 surfers are getting their spiritual highs from riding Swami’s waves. I find it a miracle that humans can approximate what Jesus did, sans board. Swami Yogananda, I’d guess that you’re pleased to see the two spiritual worlds living in harmony.
GT: A few more words are warranted about the teacher behind this temple. This guy is big time in the spiritual world. Mukunda Lal Ghosh was born in 1893, in Gorakhpur, India, into a rich Bengali family. While a baby in his mother’s arms, a renowned master of Kriya Yoga blessed Mukunda and forecast his future saying, “Little mother, thy son will be a yogi. As a spiritual engine, he will carry many souls to God’s kingdom.” People were aware that there was something special and different about this child. There was. At 17, Mukunda proved to be a real life Sidhartha, searching India for an enlightened teacher that could guide his desire for illumination. On the first meeting with a revered Swami, who was to become his teacher for ten years, he was told that he had been chosen to disseminate the ancient science Kriya Yoga to the world. In this philosophy, meditation is seen as the way to gain oneness with God. In 1915, Mukunda graduated from Calcutta University and became a monk of the revered Swami Order and was given the name Paramahansa (supreme swan) Yogananda (bliss through divine union). He had dedicated his life to the love and service of god. The prophesy was realized, he had became a Yogi. One day meditating in 1920, Paramahansa had a divine vision telling him that it was time for his mission to begin. The next day he departed for Calcutta and was invited to serve as India’s delegate to an international religious conference held in Boston. His Swami teacher said, All doors are open to you. It is now or never. Before his departure, he was told by Mahavatar Babji. the master who had rediscovered the ancient science of Kriya yoga, You are the one I have chosen to spread the message of Kriya Yoga in the West… the scientific technique of God-realization, will ultimately spread in all lands and aid in harmonizing the nations through man’s personal transcendental perception of the Infinite father. In 1925, he arrived in California and established the international center for Self Fulfillment Fellowship. He moved among the elite and his talks filled Carnegie Hall and Los Angeles Philharmonic Auditorium with folks interested in spiritual travels. The Los Angeles Times stated: “The Philharmonic Auditorium presents the extraordinary spectacle of thousands....being turned away an hour before the advertised opening of a lecture with the 3000-seat hall filled to its utmost capacity.” Many prominent people of the period were followers and admirers of Yogananda including the horticulturist, Luther Burbank, George Eastman (the inventor of the Kodak camera), symphony conductor Leopold Stokowski and Mahatma Gandhi. President Calvin Coolidge officially received the Swami in the White House in 1927.
Dr. Bill: His teachings make sense to my barely spiritual soul. It impresses me that a rotund brown man with an orange robe was a spiritual teacher in a city with a majority of middle class Caucasians and followers that are more diverse than the ingredients in Prince William and Kate’s Wedding Cake. GT: The distinguished Swami appeals to the rainbow of colors, cultures and religion. Yogananda believed that all religions are equal and essentially have the same message, love and service to god. His message is as beautiful as this temple and the grounds which surround us. In 1946, Yogananda resided in this Encinitas hermitage while he wrote his classic of the spiritual realm Autobiography of a Yogi. This autobiography has been translated into 26 languages and was selected as one of the 100 Most Important Spiritual Books of the 20th Century" by a panel of spiritual authors.
Dr. Bill: Is he still alive? GT: Nope. On March 7, 1952, at the Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles, Paramahasa Yogananda ended his speech with a poem he had written, “My India.” He concluded, “Where Ganges, woods, Himalayan caves and men dream God-I am hallowed; my body touched the sod.” As he completed the poem, Paramahansa fell to the floor and died from a heart attack, which he had predicted would be his manner of departure. Harry T. Rowe, Director of the Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale California wrote in a notarized letter to the Self Realization Fellowship. This letter was reported by Time Magazine on August 4, 1952. “The absence of any visual signs of decay in the dead body of Paramhansa Yogananda offers the most extraordinary case in our experience.... No physical disintegration was visible in his body even twenty days after death.... No indication of mold was visible on his skin, and no visible drying up took place in the bodily tissues. This state of perfect preservation of a body is, so far as we know from mortuary annals, an unparalleled one.... No odor of decay emanated from his body at any time....” “In the hundred years since the birth of Paramahansa Yogananda, this beloved world teacher has come to be recognized as one of the greatest emissaries to the West of India’s ancient wisdom. His life and teachings continue to be a source of light and inspiration to people of all races, cultures and creeds.” So, I will chew on all this for awhile and maintain my spiritual high. For now, our journey will end at the half-way point to La Jolla. I can hardly wait to share our surf down through Cardiff, up to Solana Beach, down into the doggy carnival at Dog Beach, up into Del Mar seeing the fun zone with noisy children delightfully yelling, then the ecstasy and the exhaustion of going over Torrey Pines on old 101. Finally, we will droop into La Jolla Village and check out the seals at Children’s beach. GT: Thank you for joining us. See you on the next adventure.
More like this:
- Interview with Awake: The Life of Yogananda co-directors Paola DiFlorio and Lisa Leeman — Nov. 5, 2014
- Florida surfer at Swami's unwelcome — March 7, 2014
- Dr. Bill and GT Surf Hwy 101 — Feb. 1, 2012
- Then and Now — May 5, 2011
- Self-Realization Fellowship, Encinitas — Sept. 20, 2007