These are hostia shoots, photographed outside our house one year in early May. I look forward to their return -- though I know it will be several weeks before I see any such thing. The snows fell high and thick this year. It's going to be a while before anything can safely poke above-ground and visibly grow.
But under the surface of the earth, new life is preparing itself to rise. There will be hostias again, and hydrangeas. There will be crocuses and tulips and daffodils. A whole verdant spring is waiting. Sometimes growth is almost imperceptible, but that doesn't mean it isn't happening all the same.
Pesach comes at this season of new growth. The karpas, the parsley we dip in salt water early in the order of the seder, represents the spring green of new life. And the Pesach story is also a story of our community's growth from a ragtag bunch of slaves to a people capable of striving toward covenant.
How have I grown since last year at this season? Am I wiser, kinder, more compassionate? Am I willing to poke my vulnerable shoots out of the safety of familiar earth, to reach out toward the air and the sun, to risk the dangers of letting myself grow?