Song Title: Hochatown
There is something about a truly good song—you can listen to it hundreds of times, and with each experience you grab hold of interesting nuances that weren’t caught the last two-hundred and ninety-seven times. If could be a catchy chorus, poetic verses, the rich history and deep angst of the lyrics or the fact that you can lay your head back, turn it on and it lulls you to sleep when nothing else works. It keeps you returning to it. For me, that song is Needtobreathe’s “Into the Mystery”. I can’t get enough.
During your travels, there are few things more comforting than that truly good song amidst those long stents down the blacktop. Like the smell of fresh cut grass or the sound of crashing waves, a new song can quickly become a staple, tied to the mental pictures and memories from a special trip. Those special experiences can never be replaced nor are they easily displaced. In fact, it is something you find yourself coming back to time and time again.
On Highway 259, northbound along the eastern border of Oklahoma lies an unforgettable song–Hochatown, Oklahoma. You might not catch it in full the first time you hear it. In fact, to truly experience its full scope, you need to pull over, close your eyes and listen to its one-of-a-kind melody beginning to end. As soon as the song ends, the intrigue of what you just heard takes over and you immediately hit ‘repeat’ and put the car in drive.
Verse 1: Winding Roads
When that first notes begin to play, you turn east and find yourself taking a drive down the winding roads of Beavers Bend State Park, watching campers throw a frisbee and children playing at the river’s edge. They are mesmerized by the colorful rainbow trout swimming by or the battleship in the form of a huge maple leaf as it ventures downstream along the Mountain Fork River.
Chorus: Lake View
The song builds towards the chorus as you zig and zag back up the mountainous roads you didn’t know existed behind the trees along the highway. You reach the summit overlooking the crystal-clear lake below as the chorus finds its stride. It’s hard to imagine the song getting any better than this.
Verse 2: Hochatown-Cabin Life
Second Verse. With just a short jump across the highway, you’re navigating a never-ending maze of the most beautiful, thematically consistent, yet individually distinct homes you’ve ever seen; each structure, like a choir, using their own voice to showcases their talents.
One voice, the colorful Adirondack chairs circling the perfect campfire surrounded by tall, mature pine trees, is so beautiful that it allows you an opportunity to forget the stressful job waiting on you back home. Another voice, so soothing, relaxes you as you slide into the deep spa open to the blue skies above; the only thing between you and the heavens is the fog of your breath in the crisp evening air. A third voice, a stream down below your terrace overlook, sings a tune all its own, barely aware of your observance.
Chorus: Strong Families
With the chorus on the way, you expect you know what is coming; however, you find a whole new set of experiences await as the numerous families make their way to the roadside festivities. This time, between the smiling eyes of both the young and old, it becomes obvious that this song is more than just relaxing. It is invigorating. It is revitalizing. It is enlightening. Each establishment promises a different flavor and a direct tap into the heart of the local ethos.
Bridge: Sunset Fireworks
Northbound once more, you think the song is about to end, but you’re surprised by the near-forgotten bridge of the song as the music drop down to the minimum, leaving with you what you imagine is raw wilderness all around. However, behind each lyric is a collaboration of all you’ve seen so far, spread amongst the trees; be that the hilltop lake views, endless stargazing, or legacy-shaping family time.
Perhaps all three and more.
The sense is that the song is not over yet. You notice you’ve begun an ascent up into the foothills. As the sun gets closer to the mountains ahead, you make an effort to pause to take in what all just happened while the music once again begins to build. The lookout along Highway 4 is unlike anything you’ve seen so far. All at once, the band is in full swing! The Kiamichi Mountain sing their boisterous background vocals. The choir ramps up their efforts while the rolling hills and mature trees chime in with their God-given talents.
The pinnacle of the song plays loudly as the sun crests the mountains to the west. Fireworks of orange, yellow, pink, red and everything in between explode onto the horizon for one last chorus.
As the music fades, you begin to understand. Hochatown is certainly not a one-hit-wonder. This song deserves an encore. The world needs to hear it. You take a picture and share it with your friends. When they ask what you’re doing and where you are, you find yourself at a loss for words. Where am I? What have I just seen? You want to shout it out at the top of your lungs, but the words aren’t there. You wonder, “How can I describe what I’ve just experienced?”
Unfortunately, you can’t.
At least not in a way that gives Hochatown the justice it is due.
All you can say to the myriad of inquiries is a plea for them to join you on a trip up Highway 259 where the song is ready to play.