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Cortez author inspired by nature in latest book

Curt Melliger holds his new book, “Where the Weeds Grow,” while wearing what he refers to as his “author cap.“
Curt Melliger’s favorite place in the world is the San Juan Mountains — as evidenced in his book ‘Where the Weeds Grow’

At 65, Curt Melliger is, for the first time since childhood, fully settled.

A new first-time homeowner, living in the middle of town in Cortez is a far cry from the lifestyle he’s been living since 17.

Back then, Melliger fully planned on attending college on a baseball scholarship. Hailing from a small town in Nebraska, he thought he would return to his native state after a road trip before classes started.

In what he describes as his “old Volkwagen hippie van,” he drove West.

North of Durango, it blew up, and his life was forever changed, he said.

And to his parent’s dismay, he wasn’t going home.

“They thought maybe I got involved in some weird cult or something, so they sent the sheriff to check on me, and I told him ‘No, I'm fine, I just don't want to go back to any more school or college or Nebraska. I'm a mountain man,’” he said.

In a sit-down with The Journal, flute music playing in the background and cat perched at his side, Melliger recounted the experiences of his life — which he doesn’t believe is his first. Melliger discussed his initial draw to the mountains of the Southwest, and a pull that kept him coming back.

Here and everywhere he’s been, he’s spent a great deal of time pondering the spiritual world. He’s fascinated by topics like synchronicity, dreams, impossible coincidences, near-death experiences, the inner workings of nature and his belief that we all have invisible angels guiding us along the way.

He wants you to read about them in his newest book, published in May: “Where the Weeds Grow.” It’s available for purchase online at ozarkmt.com, amazon.com or barnesandnoble.com.

His new book explores how the different environments he’s experienced – from skid row in California to this corner of Colorado – harbor keys to enlightenment he believes exist beyond the surface.

“I think the human race used to be much closer to nature, and we've kind of been divorced from it,” he said.

The summer after Melliger graduated high school, he hitchhiked to Alaska, and spent his life as something of a nomad, never laying permanent roots anywhere.

He worked odd and often dangerous jobs until he was able to support himself with writing later in life – a gift he didn’t realize he had until friends encouraged him to seek publication.

The book follows his first: “Heaven Here on Earth.” Melliger says his best writing takes place around 4 a.m., and he doesn’t type his words on a computer, preferring to hand-write them — a testament to his quest for simplicity.

He’s saddened by the reduction in childlike wander he sees in some people, he said, and hopes his book reminds people of it.

“I never got in line. And I feel sorry for people that do, because we're wild creatures on a wild planet, and we can do anything we want,” he said. “There is no limit.”

Out of the places he’s lived, he’s most at home in the San Juan Mountains – and they have inspired much of his writing.

While everyone might not share his approach to life, he relates to others drawn to the region who find peace in the diverse landscapes — the expanses of deserts and mountain peaks — that inspire deep reflection within many.

“I love writing about the strange things that happen to us and the doors that open and wisdom we get from strangers and insights from just being there at sunrise,” he said. “I spend a lot of time out in nature because that's where I feel most at home. I'm never alone in nature.”