Evoking the image of springtime and re-growth, the phrase "green shoots" is used to describe promising signs of economic recovery. It's been around since the early 1990s, but really caught on in March, when Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke used it during an interview with 60 Minutes to describe his optimism about the year ahead. Since then, the phrase itself has "sprouted and blossomed," as Slate's Daniel Gross put it in April, repeated by downtrodden analysts and desperate journalists as a sort of soothing mantra. "Economists are now walking around, eyes fixed on the ground like French rustics hunting for truffles, searching for verdant signs of growth." Here's hoping they find plenty of them in 2010.