Dark skies loomed above my studio in Wichita as the morning unfolded. The sprawling plains, seemingly endless, beneath the churning clouds that resembled the restless waves of a tempestuous ocean. Why did I choose to settle in Wichita, some may ask? My answer has always been a simple, defiant "why not?" For in every place, no matter how ordinary, beauty abounds for those willing to seek it out. Two decades spent in the majestic Ozark mountains, followed by another twenty amidst the Sonoran desert, taught me this truth: wherever you find yourself, nature's splendor envelops you. It is the presence of others that one must cautiously navigate. This morning, standing in the parking lot of my studio, beauty reigned supreme.