Tropical trees bend, not break. Image copyright Julia Moore,

When I was a little girl living on a U.S. Air Force base in Japan, we used to get these crazy typhoons. There was a grassy quad in front of our house, and I remember seeing the trees bending almost sideways, whipped by the rain and wind.

Trees that fare worst in storms are the rigid ones, with their stiff trunks and their branches clinging tightly to their leaves.

Then there are the ones that have learned to adapt. Sierra palms throw off their leaves, giving the wind less surface area to grab onto. They ride out the storm bare to their bones and then sprout new leaves when it’s all over.

Muskwood trees fall right over and sprout new shoots along their trunks that will grow when the coast is clear; they offer their old selves as a base for the new growth and even provide the nutrients the new sprouts need to grow.

Some, like the Tabonuco tree, have an even more elaborate survival system: they drop their leaves, bend a bit and and intertwine their roots to hold onto one another and prevent the individual trees from being torn up.

Let’s be like Tabonuco trees: flexible, able to drop the non-essentials when we need to (because we have our priorities straight) and anchoring each other when things get wild.