Sitting in the type of weather I perfectly hate: muggy, unmoving air, thick with plump mosquitos; and all I can think is: I miss Iceland.
This is the black-sand beach where Jökulsárlón, the glacial lagoon fed by Vatnajökull, empties its iceberg shards into the Atlantic Ocean. The day I visited it was bitterly cold, hanging so low and thick I couldn't see more than a hundred yards off the lagoon's shoreline. There was no chance of glimpsing the glacier itself, but I didn't care. It was such a stark and startling environment, so utterly beyond Australia's purview. It cracked my mind open and shoved icebergs in there. Not book-learning, not a leap of imagination, but the kind of bone-deep knowledge only first-hand experience can give.
Looking back, I think my favourite aspect of Iceland were those beaches of black sand. I expected the sand to be rough or gritty, but it was always sinking-soft, an undisturbed sweep of shoreline, and perpetually wet. Ocean and rain and mist and fog clung to the beaches during our visit, keeping them empty. I liked to take Squawk toddling along them, lava fields on one hand and waves from Antarctica nibbling at the sand on the other. It gives the mind enough space to roam, a landscape like that.