Inessential Stuff

a personal photoblog

Thursday, July 19, 2012



Maybe some of you read about it in the paper, or saw it on the news.  The report of the man who had been inner tubing on the Spokane River on Monday, who had gone off his raft and been swept into the water.  Search teams found his body the next day.

The news reports first only identified him as a “21-year old man from Spokane.”  I didn’t know him well, but he was my girlfriend’s little brother.  And that word “man”  isn’t quite right, because in some ways he was just a kid, who didn’t know how swift and dangerous the river could be.

He was a complex kid, described by his favorite teacher as “profound.”  Someone who asked big questions and sought to understand the world.  Someone still learning to navigate the world and find his place in it.  Someone who enjoyed solitude.  Who took photos of landscapes, and of his dog, whom he took on long walks, and of his ferret.  He was so sensitive, he never killed insects; he would move them outside from the house.

When he climbed into the river that day, with his best friend, in a spot where the water was particularly calm, under a hot summer sun, surrounded by evergreen trees and bird sounds, he left his backpack on the shore with his stuff in it.  It was returned to the family the next day.

And with the family’s gracious permission, I took a photograph of the contents.

A pair of shoes, socks carefully tucked inside.  Phone.  Wallet.  An Applause Guitar user’s manual, and guitar picks.  A knit hat that he almost always wore, even in the summer.  Some coins.  A Weider hand grip.  Three AAA batteries.  A well-used general science book.  A pen.  Scraps of paper, some probably important to him, a few that he may have picked up to throw away (he hated litter).

Some of the papers are hard to see.  A page with a simple note, “PLEASE BRING MY BAG & GUITAR”:

A fortune from a cookie:

A scrap of paper with lyrics on it:

Kyeffer Scott Scrap of Paper

A list with numbers:

Also in his wallet was a piece of paper with pi printed out to 260 decimal places:

A packet of guitar picks:

There was something banal and bland about the news, the description of a 21-year old man from Spokane.

This was the stuff he had with him.  His stuff.  They are something less than a portrait.  But these fragments, taken together, give a glimpse of the person Kyeffer Scott was.

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posted by Larry at 12:32 pm  

This post is in: Portraits



  1. Larry, this was beautifully composed. Thank you for sharing. Please give my condolences to Alicia. There are some for you, too. xoxo

    Comment by Jen — July 19, 2012 @ 12:53 pm

  2. Very moving Lar. So sad for Alicia’s and your loss. You’re all in our thoughts and prayers. Hugs!

    Comment by Cindee — July 19, 2012 @ 1:08 pm

  3. What a tender remembrance of “a 21 year old man from Spokane”. I feel like I know a little bit more about him now. And it leaves a hollow and sad place in my heart for his loss, and for Alicia and for his family. I am so sorry. And Thank you Larry for this glimpse of Kye. Rest in peace indeed.

    Comment by Mum — July 19, 2012 @ 1:25 pm

  4. My heart aches for Alicia and the whole family. :(

    Comment by Bonnie — July 19, 2012 @ 2:25 pm

  5. Larry,
    Very beautiful post! Please take care of Alicia while she is working through this tragedy.

    Comment by Tara — July 19, 2012 @ 4:17 pm

  6. This is beautiful Larry!! What a special way to look into the life of someone taken to young! My heart hurts for Alicia, Heather, and the rest of the family!! I wish we could be there! Much love to you all!

    Comment by Mearie G — July 19, 2012 @ 4:42 pm

  7. So beautifully written that I am crying for a person who I didn’t know and whos life was ended short. What he accomplished and meant to many people though is a lifetime of joy. I pray that you, his family, and his friends can all find peace in the fact that they got to know this articulate soul.

    Comment by Aimee Mellick — July 19, 2012 @ 4:57 pm

  8. Larry, Thanks for the glimpse! It is a tragedy when a young “man” dies. Your portrait is a beautiful way to honor him.

    Comment by Rick — July 19, 2012 @ 5:12 pm

  9. Larry, thank you for helping remind me how remarkable people’s lives are, and for the peek into Kyeffer Scott’s being. Blessings and love.

    Comment by Michele — July 19, 2012 @ 5:20 pm

  10. Larry,
    Thank you for this beautiful post. You’re right– these things were bits, scraps, trinkets– but they were his, and were a part of the person he was, however insignificant. I don’t think I met Kyeffer, but I felt I knew him a little from years of hearing Alicia talk about her baby brother– how she worried about him, was proud of him, was exasperated by him, protected him, loved him… thank you for this portrait of someone who will be very missed, I’m sure, by his friends and family.

    Comment by Michelle — July 19, 2012 @ 6:01 pm

  11. Thank you for reminding me how majestic, complex and fragile we all are. As a person who carries a bag every day and has lived long enough to have sorted through the belongs of to many that have went before me, this is one of the most touching tributes i could think of. Thank you for allowing us to see a glimpse of the person he was.

    Comment by joe scozzari — July 19, 2012 @ 6:20 pm

  12. Larry, this is a beautiful tribute. Big hugs to you and Alicia.

    Comment by Karla — July 19, 2012 @ 8:59 pm

  13. Thank you Larry. The tittle “21 year old man..” hit me in a daze too…. the memory that has always stuck with me the clearest is our first meeting…it was our annual family picnic at Flaming Gyser Park and it was hot. My son and I were wading in the Green River to cool off….Kyeffer stood on the shore interested but not sure he wanted to join us until my son plucked a crawdad from the shallow rocks…Kyeffers eyes lit-up in amazment and we had a blast by that river bank all afternoon…His Eyes….His eyes always had so much to say…

    Comment by LeeAnn — July 19, 2012 @ 11:20 pm

  14. He obviously was talented and profound – what a loss. Thank you for your thoughtful photos and captions.

    Comment by Mary Chavez — July 20, 2012 @ 8:21 am

  15. A beautiful acknowledgement of who he was and another way his presence lingers on… He was a Profound Human and a gentle soul. The loss of him leaves man-kind without a bright and shining presence whom by his ways he could have led –simply by example. Instead, thia tragedy left a gaping hole and an eternally wounded heart to those who loved him. May his light continue to shine. And I want to thank you for this – I know this meant alot to his family. Mary

    Comment by Mary — July 21, 2012 @ 8:54 am

  16. Kyeffer was a pretty good friend of mine in school, he was so quiet but always had so much to say. He was so caring and courteous. I am praying for you guys. He was an amazing person.

    Comment by rachel — July 23, 2012 @ 1:32 pm

  17. Such a sad story – but you did a great job in documenting this “portrait” of sorts of this young man. My thoughts are with you both in this difficult time.

    Comment by Jenna — July 24, 2012 @ 3:22 pm

  18. Kyffer.was johns best friend, and became a good friend of mine, times John called me dad and Kyffer was right there. John lived in our house the past year, Kyffer on our couch, a lot. I would listen to him play guitar for hours. He would use my sons amp, he would serenade us. I thought of these two boys ‘men’ as mine. I cried my eyes out when I heard. He was in our house that dreadful morning. I can still see kyf shutting our Front door. I miss him, the world has lost a great man.. Backpack, guitar and man……

    Comment by Randy — August 2, 2012 @ 10:55 pm

  19. I loved Kyffer, reading this makes me cry, but its so beautiful.

    prays for fam and friends

    Comment by David Mackin — August 4, 2012 @ 12:19 pm

  20. Kye was a good friend if my families he use to bug me about learning guitar John brought him over quite a bit it was hard to believe the kid walking into our house wearing a ac dc shirt and black hair with red racing stripes would end up being such a good friend of ours

    Comment by Hunter — August 9, 2012 @ 5:13 pm

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