Our back deck has oversized eaves which provide a shelter in the summer, when we sit outside and watch thunderstorms, staying dry. Year round, small birds like to fly up into the recessed light fixtures, to perch, and in the spring and summer they nest up there.
Recently, we've been visited by a shy opossum in the winter evenings, rambling on the deck. Her white pie face catches the light from our dining room as we sit and eat supper together. She doesn't seem to mind when we run to the French door and press our faces against the glass to get a better look, peering out into the dark.
Early this week I realized she comes because she likes to lick the bird droppings off the deck. Amid winter's grime, there are two licked clean spots: world's smallest, humblest valentines, but valentines just the same.